June Croissette
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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

Trouble Spots for Water Damage in Your Home

April 11, 2014 1:54 am

Your home is your sanctuary, but everyone has had issues with their home in the past. Whether scratched floors, faulty electrical wires or water damage, issues come up and it’s all part of being a homeowner. Here are a few trouble spots in your home that may be susceptible to water damage. The most logical place to start in your home, is where issues would be most problematic: the bathroom.

The bathroom has the single greatest chance of any area of your house to create the problem of water damage. There is generally a multiple of three factors in that one particular area because you have your bathtub/shower, sink and your toilet, all of which can be powder kegs for disaster. Your bathroom tub could have a small little crack in it that you may not realize. If could create far larger damage to the internal structure of the house through pooling underneath, which compromises the wood. Over time, your toilet can become weak and the bowl might snap off spilling large amounts of water everywhere. The sink in the bathroom may have a leaky pipe, which will inevitably lead to damage caused by water. Be aware of these potential problem areas and inspect them regularly.

The kitchen is another prime example. A common denominator between the bathroom and kitchen is the sink. A leaky pipe at the kitchen sink is a problem, since it can create a bigger mess than one might expect. Another common issue is dishwasher overflow, when the dishwasher sealant goes and the water gushes outside. This is generally caused by the erosion of sealant over time caused by the acidities of the food we eat and the chemicals in the soap. The refrigerator, if it is attached to a water source, can cause water damage if the hoses are not connected properly or if it breaks.

Another place in your house that may have issues with hoses is the laundry room. The washing machine can be overloaded with clothing and could tip over and spill water across the floor. The hoses on the back can deteriorate because they are made of rubber, and slowly, water could leach into it rotting them from the inside. The pipes that lead to the main line can leak and create more problems.

The basement is already a damp area in your household, but it’s also the nerve center of many of your home's water-based functions. These functions include your water heater and the main water control for your house. If your water heater breaks, it can lead to a large mess in the basement area. Also, if your main bursts, not only will you have a problem with not having water in your home, you will also have a pool in the basement of your home.

All homeowners, especially first-timers, should be aware of these potential problem spots and inspect these rooms and their pipes regularly. Preventing water damage before it occurs can save you many headaches down the line.

Source: SI Restoration

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Warm Weather Energy Efficiency Information and Safety Reminders

April 11, 2014 1:54 am

As customers across the country eagerly await the arrival of consistently warmer temperatures following a record-breaking winter, homeowners are reminded about how they can help save energy and money, and encourage safety around the home. Here are some warm weather energy-savings tips:

• Set your thermostat on the highest comfortable setting. If you're leaving for the day, turn it up a couple of degrees.
• Change your air filters regularly. A dirty air filter makes a cooling system work harder, which uses more energy.
• The arrival of spring means that summer is around the corner. Make sure your HVAC system is ready to keep you cool by having it checked by a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor.
• Close blinds, drapes and shades during the hottest part of the day to keep the sun's rays from heating your house.

Customers should also remain diligent against scams targeting utility customers across the country.

Call Before You Dig
Spring gardening and home improvement projects can be fun, but can also present safety challenges. One of the most potentially hazardous situations in residential areas is accidental contact with underground electric power lines, natural gas lines, community lines and other utility services. To ensure you're working safely, call an underground line locating service by dialing 811. There is no charge for the service and the call is free.

Storm safety reminders

Warmer weather also brings with it the potential for unpredictable weather. Customers should:

• Check your supply of flashlights, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable foods, medicines, etc.
• Ensure a portable, battery-operated radio, TV or NOAA weather radio is on hand.
• Determine now what actions to take for family members, friends and neighbors who have special medical needs or who are elderly to ensure they have necessary emergency plans in the event of an extended power outage.

Source: Duke Energy

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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How to Form a Neighborhood Watch

April 10, 2014 1:45 am

Many areas throughout the country experience an increase in crime rates during the warmer months. One important measure to help keep neighborhoods and families safe is to establish a neighborhood watch group. Pangea Properties has made it a priority to create safe neighborhoods for residents. CEO Steve Joung shares a few tips for crime proofing an area:

Recruit Help: Go door-to-door in the community and see what others have experienced crime wise and if there is any interest in establishing a watch group. Write down names and contact information for individuals who are willing to assist. Bring up the idea at the next association meeting or start an email chain to coordinate meetings if there is not an established neighborhood association.

Work with Local Representatives: Contact local police officers to see if they have any advice, training techniques or if they can speak at a meeting to discuss tactics with the neighborhood watch group members. In addition, building a presence with the local government officials can have a significant impact on the community’s outlook.

Establish Leaders: Create captains or block leaders at the first meeting. These individuals will take a larger role in the neighborhood watch, including assisting in the organization of meetings, communicating information to members and the community, acting as a spokesperson for the group and as a liaison with local law enforcement officials.

Distribute Materials: Prepare a flier, newsletter or email that provides information about the neighborhood watch’s mission and goals to all residents. Include the procedure for reporting a crime, how to partake in the communication system, who the leaders are, upcoming meetings, etc. Make sure the newsletter is distributed on a regular basis to keep all residents informed and active.

Outline Responsibilities: Secure commitments from residents attending the initial neighborhood watch group meeting. Don’t pressure people into participating, but take commitments from those who actually want to see the program succeed.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Tips for a Bountiful Backyard Garden

April 10, 2014 1:45 am

(Family Features) The benefits of having your own backyard vegetable garden are plentiful, and can include significant lifestyle impacts, such as healthier eating habits, money saving perks and more.

A Relaxing, Healthful Hobby
Looking for a hobby that allows you to contribute to the health of your family? Take up gardening. Beyond producing nutritious foods, it can help you teach your family about local agriculture, all while basking in the tranquility of the great outdoors. Though starting your own home garden can be intimidating, there are a few simple steps to get you started. Once developed, it can yield fruits and vegetables from early spring and into the fall.

1) Do Some Research
Find out what vegetables grow best in your area and when is the right time to plant and harvest. Many local university extension programs have this information readily available online. For each plant, consider the amount of water needed, how much sunlight is required and if it should be started from seed or a transplanted seedling.

2) Choose a Good Spot
Keep in mind vegetables need at least six hours of sun each day, so plant away from the shade of buildings, trees and shrubs. Planting close to your house may make you more likely to bring your harvest right into your kitchen, and will help you remember to weed and water. Including rain and irrigation, your garden needs at least one inch of water per week. Make sure you can easily access a water supply nearby. Some products, such as an Ames NeverLeak hose reel, provide convenient hose storage and can easily reach all parts of your yard. Be sure to choose a level area of your yard so when watering, it will not pool in lower areas.

3) Clear the Area

Use your garden hose or a string to mark the area for proper placement of your garden. Use a sod lifter or garden spade, keeping the area level and removing as little topsoil as possible. Next, use a round point shovel, such as the True Temper True American Round-Point Shovel, to dig into the soil about 12 inches, breaking it up and removing clumps. To encourage proper drainage and escape light freezes in early spring and fall, construct a raised bed by creating a border with wood slats and filling in with soil.

4) Prepare the Soil
Use a rake to create a smooth finish and remove debris or stones on the surface. You may want to add manure, compost or soil additives to provide additional nutrients in the soil.

5) Plant Your Seeds
Determine if you will be starting your plants from seeds or transplanting small seedlings. Be sure to research how much room each plant will need and plot the layout of your garden. Dig V-shaped furrows using a warren hoe or the edge of a garden hoe. Carefully distribute the seeds in the furrows evenly and in accordance with the instructions on the seed packet. Cover the seeds and pat down gently, then water thoroughly.

Use this information for a fruitful harvest this gardening season. For more tips, visit www.AmesTrueTemper.com or www.Facebook.com/TrueTemperTools.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Tips for Finding Pet-Friendly Carpeting

April 10, 2014 1:45 am

Adding new carpet is an easy way to rejuvenate the look and feel of any room in your home. But when you own pets, finding a quality carpet that is easy to maintain can be a tiring task.

"If you're a pet owner, it's important to find carpeting that can withstand the toll pets can dish out on flooring," says carpet expert David Duncan of Mohawk Flooring. Here are some tips to picking out the best carpet possible for your four-legged friends:

Function. What is the room used for? For high-traffic areas, such as a family room, den or hallway, consider carpeting with built-in triexta fibers that are stain- and soil-resistant. A dining room carpet should be stain-resistant and easy to clean as well. Carpets with chemically applied stain protection treatments can lose their stain and soil resistance over time. Also, consider the environment by choosing carpeting made in part with plant-based materials.

Design and Color. Want to make a room seem larger? Look for a light-colored carpet. Want cozy? Opt for dark. Want relaxing? Blues and greens can create a feeling of calm. In addition, different carpet textures add interest to any room. But regardless of color or style, if your room gets a lot of traffic, or if you have pets with preferred sleeping spots, choose a carpet with fibers designed to spring back into place, rather than the flagpole-shaped design of the fibers in some carpets. Carpets with kinked, spring-shaped fibers are designed to resist matting, and bounce back when walked or sat on.

Style and Softness.
Comfort is a key factor when choosing a carpet for your home, especially if you have children or pets that spend a lot of time sitting or lying on the floor. Carpets with built-in stain protection have been shown to retain their softness over time, in part because there are no added chemical stain-protection treatments that might leave a rough or sticky residue.

Maintenance. High-maintenance carpets should be avoided in areas where there are children or pets. No one wants to spend a lot of time cleaning up the inevitable messes, and some high-maintenance carpet cleaning products can be hazardous to your home environment. Choose a carpet made of triexta fibers, which are designed to be dirt-resistant and can be cleaned easily with water and a mild detergent. In addition, take advantage of warranties offered by some carpet manufacturers on stains caused by pets.

Source: Mohawk Flooring

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Tips and Tricks for Healthy and Tasty Food Substitutions

April 9, 2014 1:36 am

(BPT) - Spring is a time of new beginnings. For some of us, that means shedding a few pounds along with our heavy winter clothes. Simple and healthy food substitutions can help. Some substitutions are easy, for example, substituting brown rice or quinoa for white rice or adding barley in with brown rice to add another type of whole grain. Other substitutions are completely unexpected. To be inspired and jazz up any meal time, take cues from culinary experts.

Chef Andrew Lyman, culinary director, The Art Institute of Austin, suggests, “It is not uncommon to use brown sugar, for white sugar, but I often challenge my students to use other ingredients as a sweetener - for example, using a teaspoon of vanilla can often produce similar results as a cup of sugar and it saves over 400 calories. Another option is using prunes for butter, especially in brownies or other dark baked goods - 3/4 cup of prunes with 1/4 cup of boiling water , puree to combine and you have a great option.”

Chef instructor Peachy Seiden from The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Cincinnati-Ohio says, “Using pureed fruit warmed on the stovetop with a bit of honey is a great substitute for classic maple syrup - decreasing the sugar content and providing an extra dose of antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.”

Elliott Hilton, culinary director for The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Michigan, adds, “Using non-fat Greek yogurt when the recipe calls for mayonnaise or sour cream works really well since it’s a lot less fat and a good way to add additional protein.”

Here are a few more substitutions you can make in your recipes:

* Unsweetened applesauce for sugar (can be in a 1:1 ratio, but reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup).

* Mashed bananas for fats. The creamy, thickening power of very ripe mashed bananas is the ideal consistency in place of one cup of butter or oil.

* Spaghetti squash for pasta is a natural substitute. Simply roast and pull apart with a fork and voila.

* Using coconut oil instead of butter adds additional health-benefiting nutrients and the flavor is superb.

* Reducing the calorie count of meals is helpful, but small adjustments make a big impact. “Something simple that I recommend is to make broths, soups and stews in advance and chill them. Before reheating, lift the hardened fat that formed on the surface. In a pinch, you can also float a few ice cubes to help harden the fat so it can be lifted and removed,” says Hilton.

* “Using brewed tea (green, white, oolong, black) as a ‘liquid ingredient’ to our sauce or stews add another flavor dimension, not to mention the added protective antioxidants” says Seiden.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Deer Dangers You Don't Know and What to Do about Them

April 8, 2014 1:30 am

(BPT) - It’s hard to live in suburbia these days and be unaware of the difficulties deer can cause homeowners. They lunch on your landscape and brazenly cross busy roads at the worst possible times. But did you know that deer can carry parasites that transmit debilitating diseases to people? Or that nationally, deer versus car collisions claim about 200 lives per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?

Bambi’s less beautiful when you consider the deer dangers you don’t know. While damage to bushes, blooms, shrubs and gardens can be annoying at best and costly at worst, deer can pose other risks to the safety of your home and family, including:

* Disease dangers – Deer often carry ticks that transmit debilitating diseases like Lyme disease and brucellosis. Lyme disease can cause headaches, fever, fatigue, joint pain and rashes, and is often hard to diagnose. Left untreated, Lyme can damage the nervous system and even cause memory loss. Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that causes flu-like symptoms, including fever and headaches. In addition to affecting the central nervous system, it can attack the heart lining, too.

* Pet threat – Direct injuries to people caused by deer may be uncommon, but deer that dwell in suburbia often come in contact with pets. Even a small doe can cause considerable injury to a dog or cat if the deer feels threatened and cornered. Bucks with antlers can be even more menacing to pets, especially during rutting season.

* Real estate reductions – Everyone knows that curb appeal is king when you’re trying to sell a house. Deer eat six-to-10 pounds of food daily, tearing leaves from plants and bark from trees. Their foraging can weaken and even decimate plants. Deer damage to landscaping, especially trees, can seriously spoil curb appeal, sometimes causing potential buyers to think twice before purchasing a home in an area known for deer damage.

* Perpetual predation – Deer are prey animals, and an abundant population of them in a small area can draw predators looking for easy-access meals at your house, on a regular basis. Coyotes and bobcats won’t hesitate to attack family members and pets, plus they can carry diseases such as rabies.

To protect your home from deer damages – both known and unknown – it’s important to be pro-active. If you act before the deer do you may be able to prevent their destruction altogether. Once deer settle into an area, it can be difficult to convince them to leave. Since no one wants to unnecessarily harm deer, it’s important to try safe, preventive measures such as:

* Deer repellent – It’s possible to deter deer without the use of harsh chemicals. Bobbex Deer Repellent, a topical foliar spray, uses taste and smell-aversion ingredients to deter deer from browsing on foliage, shrubs and trees. All natural, it’s safe for use around sensitive plantings, your children and pets. It works in any climate, won’t wash off in heavy rain, and it has been found to be 93 percent effective – second only to a physical barrier – in testing by the Connecticut Department of Forestry and Horticulture. To learn more, visit www.bobbex.com.

* Fencing – While fencing is considered a sure-fire way to keep deer out, it’s not always desirable or practical to fence your yard. Many communities restrict the height of fences, some are unsightly, and deer have been known to jump fences as high as 10 feet.

* Devices – Noise-makers and lights that are motion-activated may scare deer away for a short time, but deer will eventually learn there’s no real threat and return to an area where deterrent devices are in use.

* Unpalatable plantings – Hungry deer will eat almost anything, but it is possible to plant some vegetation that deer are less likely to eat. Interspersing plants like yarrow, fuzzy lamb’s ear, catmint, and hellebore, may offer some protection for plants that deer find desirable.

For more information, visit www.bobbex.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Survey Shows Homeowners Will Liven Up Their Spaces with More Painting Projects

April 8, 2014 1:30 am

Colorful home improvements are planned across the country this spring as homeowners look to create dream spaces with paint.

According to a new National Home Design and Color Survey from Sherwin-Williams, seven-in-10 homeowners plan to undertake a house-related project in the next six months. Of those homeowners planning house projects, painting tops the list with 42 percent wanting to liven up their space with color, followed by landscaping (39 percent) and redecorating (30 percent).

This year, design inspiration is available during Sherwin-Williams National Painting Week, held the week of April 7. Each day, swpaintingweek.com features painting ideas, expert tips, product information and one-of-a-kind projects from top DIY design bloggers.

According to internationally celebrated interior designer, Jeff Andrews, adding paint color is one of the easiest ways to give a space a new look. Andrews, known for his innovative design approach and long list of clients including Ryan Seacrest, the Kardashian family and Michael C. Hall, believes great design involves imagination, inspiration and color.

"When working with clients, I like to show them how color can play a significant role in creating their dream space.
National Painting Week is an opportunity for homeowners to see how paint can transform any living space, whether it's an accent wall, piece of furniture, or a complete room makeover," Andrews says.

Spring Survey Highlights: Warm Colors and Confidence Ahead

Sherwin-Williams conducted the National Home Design and Color Survey to determine homeowners' most desired projects and colors. Nearly two-in-three homeowners say they would like to add more color in their home, especially in the living/family room (25 percent), bedroom (24 percent) and bathroom (17 percent). Men are receptive to adding color, with 58 percent of them wanting to introduce more into their home.

Warm neutrals featuring a hint of red, yellow or brown are the most popular palettes for about a third of homeowners (32 percent). Twenty-five percent would like to incorporate cool neutrals, with a hint of blue or green. Homeowners 18 to 34 years old want a rich and dark color palette (23 percent), while those 65 and older prefer a soft and light palette (35 percent).

Sixty-four percent of homeowners say they are confident handling an exterior project on their own. Men are most comfortable with the following exterior projects: painting doors (45 percent), fences (38 percent) and decks (37 percent). Sixty percent of women also feel comfortable doing their own outdoor painting projects, and consider doors (38 percent) and trim/shutters (29 percent) to be the easiest tasks to manage.

Source: Sherwin-Williams

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Stepping Out for Spring? People with Diabetes Should Check Their Feet First

April 7, 2014 1:24 am

(BPT) - Spring is finally here and it’s an ideal time to get outside and be more physically active. For those with diabetes, regular exercise helps increase circulation and is a critical part of staying healthy. But, before lacing up your sneakers, remember these important steps to ensure your feet are in shape:

* Get the green light from your health care provider. Discuss the type of physical activity that’s best for you and ask your provider to examine your feet. In general, your feet should be professionally examined four times each year.

* Be mindful of everyday foot care. Sometimes, people with diabetes have serious foot problems yet feel no pain. This may be due to nerve damage, a long-term complication of diabetes. Everyday self care includes inspecting your feet for scratches, cracks, cuts or blisters and washing and drying them carefully, especially between the toes.

* Wear socks and well-fitting shoes. Because of the higher risk of foot problems among those with diabetes, avoid going barefoot, even indoors. Wear socks and shoes that fit properly.

* If you do notice a problem, it may be a foot ulcer. Ulcers occur most often on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. Ulcers may also appear on the sides of the foot. Keep in mind, while some ulcers may not hurt, every ulcer should be seen by your health care provider right away.

* Get foot ulcers treated. If you have a foot ulcer, innovative treatments can help, such as EpiFix, a wound care product from MiMedx, used extensively to rapidly and effectively heal diabetic foot ulcers. EpiFix is a dehydrated human amnion/chorion membrane allograft that delivers essential wound healing growth factors, enhances healing and reduces inflammation and scar tissue formation.

* Let it heal. If you have an ulcer, help it to heal by staying off your feet. Walking on an ulcer may worsen the problem by making the wound larger or migrating it deeper into your foot.

“Foot problems, including ulcers, are common among people with diabetes, but they don’t have to hold you back if you take the proper precautions and seek early treatment,” says Dr. Matt Garoufalis, president at Physicians Surgery Care Center, Chicago, Ill., and immediate past president of the American Podiatric Medical Association. “Before you step out to enjoy the spring weather, have your feet checked by a health care provider to make sure you’re good to go.”

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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From the Ground Up: Smart Building Product Choices for Homeowners

April 7, 2014 1:24 am

Whether you're building a new house or remodeling a cherished older property, the product choices you make are critical to the long-term enjoyment of your home.

"I advise consumers to 'start from the ground up' when thinking about the product needs for their home projects," says Mark Clement, professional contractor and co-host of MyFixitUpLife home improvement radio show. "Invest time to research products so you're comfortable with the final outcome."

Clement says the basement is a great starting point. "The foundation selection can determine if you'll be able to use the basement for simple storage space or as an active living area," says Clement. "By starting with energy-efficient precast concrete panels from Superior Walls, you can get a basement that is dry and comfortable for year-round use that also adds resale value to the home."

Moving up the house exterior, the largest "holes" in the home need special attention. Of course, we're talking about windows.

"When you think that a pane of glass is all that really separates you from the weather outside, it becomes very important as to what that glass and its frame are made of," says Clement. "For my money - and for my home - we selected Simonton windows with fusion-welded vinyl frames and argon gas fill to maximize energy efficiency."

Other "holes" that need filling are the main entry door and secondary doors leading to your patio, deck or garage. Clement recommends fiberglass doors for the main entry due to their resilience to dents, dings and rot.

"I've seen many fiberglass doors in the Therma-Tru product line that either have a smooth finish for painting or have a realistic woodgrain that can be stained in oak, mahogany, walnut or cedar," says Clement. You can also "dress them up" with low-maintenance urethane and PVC trim pieces. "Decorative Fypon products I've worked with are easy to install, resist rot and insects along with adding curb appeal to the home," he says.

Finally, Clement reminds homeowners not to overlook the roof. The right roof selection can last for 50 years, while a bad choice could be "gone with the wind" if severe weather strikes.

"We invested in a DaVinci Roofscapes polymer slate roof for our home and have never regretted the choice," says Clement. "This composite roof resists impact, fire and high winds."

Source: myfixituplife.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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