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

Most Insurance Covers Havoc Caused by Halloween Tricksters

October 31, 2014 3:18 am

Halloween can be scary, but having the right insurance coverage can take some of the fright out of the night. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), your insurance policies provide financial protection for a host of disasters whether they occur on Halloween or any other day.

“If you’re worried about Halloween tricksters who may cause damage to your home, there’s probably little to fear,” said Michael Barry, vice president, Media Relations, I.I.I. “But do contact your insurance professional with questions or concerns about your homeowners or renters insurance policy.”

Standard homeowners and renters insurance will provide coverage for the following:

Vandalism
– In the event your home or your personal possessions are damaged by neighborhood tricksters, homeowners and renters insurance policies provide coverage for vandalism and malicious mischief. You are on your own, however, when it comes to removing the toilet paper from your front yard!

Fire – If a jack-o-lantern or other decoration goes up in flames and damages your property, your homeowners or renters policy will cover fire-related losses. And, should the blaze make your home uninhabitable, additional living expenses (ALE) coverage will pay for alternate accommodations, such as a hotel, while your home is being repaired.

Injuries
– The liability portion of a homeowners or renters policy comes into play if a Halloween party guest, or a trick-or-treater is injured while at your house or apartment. These policies also include no-fault medical coverage so the injured person can file their claim directly with your insurer. And if Fido gets a little skittish from all the commotion and accidently nips a trick-or-treater, your liability coverage includes damages or injuries caused by pets.

Source: I.I.I.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Report: House Hunters Divided on Dream Home Aspirations

October 31, 2014 3:18 am

Conflicted over whether they can afford their dream home, house hunters in the U.S. visit an average of 10 homes before making a purchase, according to a recent report by BMO Harris Bank. The report concluded that slightly more than half (52 percent) of homebuyers currently in the market believe they will find their dream home within their price range, while 48 percent say it’s impossible.

The report also found:
  • About half (51 percent) spend up to six months searching the market.
  • Another 71 percent are willing to settle for a home deemed less than perfect.
  • Three quarters (77 percent) of home buyers say they'll know immediately when they've found their ideal house.
"It's important when house hunting to take the time, not only to find a house that fits with what you want in a home, but also to find one that fits with your financial situation," said Kevin Christopher, Head of Mortgage Sales, BMO Harris Bank. "The rule of thumb is total housing expenses should not consume more than one third of total household income."

Source: BMO Harris Bank

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Five Steps to Workplace Productivity

October 30, 2014 3:30 am

Recent research from The Creative Group (TCG) suggests that when it comes to on-the-job success, the early bird really does catch the worm. TCG recommends adopting these five habits to kick start your workday.

1. Make a plan. Over-ambitious scheduling is a setup for failure and compels you to take unfinished work home. Spend 10 minutes at the beginning of each day (or the evening before) creating a realistic to-do list for the day ahead. Prioritize tasks that are the most time-sensitive and important to the business and plan the next eight hours around them.

2. Sharpen your focus. People are more efficient when working for an extended period in the same mental mode, as opposed to changing gears frequently. Try to cluster tasks that require similar effort or resources in the same time frame.

3. Limit distractions. Many professionals find inspiration from browsing blogs, websites and social media. To maximize productivity without cutting off sources of creative stimuli, set designated periods to surf the Web in the afternoon or after you've completed a major to-do. Also, turn off email and app notifications so you're not tempted to review messages as they arrive.

4. Don't delay. Even peak performers occasionally put off working on unpleasant or overwhelming assignments. One effective way to overcome procrastination is to break a project into smaller tasks.

5. Recharge. Taking short breaks can help you replenish your energy and fight fatigue.

Source: The Creative Group

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Motorists: Be Cautious on Halloween

October 30, 2014 3:30 am

With Halloween landing on a Friday this year, many adults plan to partake in celebrations. Motorists should err on the side of caution when driving to and from parties to avoid accidents involving trick-or-treaters.

To prevent a true nightmare from happening, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council recommend motorists follow these guidelines.
1. Be especially alert and cautious when driving on Halloween due to the high number of pedestrians.
2. Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs, and darting out from parked cars.
3. At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
4. Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
5. Avoid using a cell phone while driving.
Source: The Allstate Corporation

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Consumer Interest in Smart Homes Grows

October 30, 2014 3:30 am

Consumers foresee the arrival of the smart home as even more imminent than that of smart cars or wearable technology. And while they welcome it, their enthusiasm is tempered by some confusion around the smart home concept, as well as concerns about price, ease of use, and physical and data security, according to new research from iModerate, a leading qualitative research firm.

While consumers aren't quite sure if the smart home is a product, a series of products, or a comprehensive system they can purchase, they envision the smart home as a means to solve numerous problems and issues they face on a daily basis. Study participants said they think a smart home would be most beneficial when they're away from home; specifically, a smart home would alleviate worries of leaving an appliance on (72 percent); help lower energy bills (71 percent); and reduce burglary worries (58 percent).

In terms of safety and security, however, consumers see the smart home concept as something of a double-edged sword. They believe it will offer peace of mind to them and their families, but they are wary of the security and privacy issues a smart home could expose.

Findings reveal that consumers are excited about:
  • Being able to peek in to their homes
  • •Remotely controlling home functions
  • Receiving alerts if there’s an attempted intrusion or mechanical problem that occurs while they’re away
Conversely, consumers are less keen on:
  • Security measures backfiring
  • Exploitation of data collected by smart home systems
  • Ease of hacking for smart locks
"[Consumers] perceive the technology would generally better the home experience. Only seven percent indicated concern that it would make their homes feel cold and uninviting, whereas the majority envisioned smart home technology as a silent task-master, freeing up time they'd typically spend on household chores and, in turn, allowing them more time with their families," said Adam Rossow, Partner at iModerate. “With that in mind, they're eager to get their hands on the technology and integrate it into their homes.”

Source: iModerate

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Four Travel Essentials for Holiday Road Trips

October 29, 2014 3:42 am

According to a recent RadioShack survey, 78 percent of Americans who plan to take a holiday trip will road trip to their destination. Almost three in five (58 percent) holiday travelers believe it's important to gear up with technology before their next holiday trip.

The great American road trip has been immortalized in pop culture through iconic scenes from movies like National Lampoon's Vacation, Little Miss Sunshine, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. While those movies are great for laughs, you might not want to live through some of the stressful moments during your real life road trip.

Before hitting the road, stock up on these travel essentials.

1. Emergency accessories.
The average distance for travelers from home to the destination of their next holiday trip is 760 miles. Traffic and winter weather will likely play a role in planning your journey, so outfit your vehicle with an emergency kit, tools for jumpstarting a dead car, and a portable crank radio.

2. Navigation tools. A third of holiday road travelers cite traffic as the most stressful aspect when thinking about their next trip. Invest in a GPS unit or extra data on your smartphone to arrive at your destination in a timely manner.

3. Entertainment. Three in 10 holiday road trips will include children under the age of 18, so expect fights over backseat boundaries if they get bored. Keep tablets and phones powered up with portable charging accessories and headphones.

4. Home security.
While traveling, feel confident that your home is secure and energy-efficient with home automation technology, like smartphone software and cameras.

Source: RadioShack

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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10 Tips for Parents on Halloween Night

October 29, 2014 3:42 am

Halloween is a night filled with candy, costumes, a bit of fear and a lot of fun, but it can also be a dangerous night if you don't take the proper safety precautions. With ghosts, goblins, vampires and zombies roaming the streets, it's important that parents and children review safety protocols before trick-or-treating.

"Halloween is a magical evening where kids get to transform into anything they want to be," said Allstate's Executive Vice President of Product Operations Steve Sorenson. "But it's most important for them to be safe. By following a few basic safety tips, everyone can do their part to make the holiday a memorable occasion for all the right reasons."

Parents should take the following steps to ensure safety.
1. Review all appropriate pedestrian and traffic safety rules with children.
2. Make sure costumes, wigs and accessories are fire-resistant.
3. Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to make sure they are visible if children are out after dusk.
4. Make certain that masks have large eye holes and nose and mouth openings. Parents should encourage children to remove their masks before crossing the street.
5. Provide well-fitting costumes and shoes to avoid trips and falls.
6. Make certain that swords and other accessories are made from cardboard or flexible materials. Children should not carry sharp objects.
7. Travel only in familiar, well-lit areas and avoid trick-or-treating alone.
8. Carry flashlights with fresh batteries to help children and motorists see more clearly.
9. Look both ways before crossing the street and use established crosswalks whenever possible.
10. Walk on sidewalks and not in the street. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the far edge of the road facing traffic.
Source: The Allstate Corporation

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Build a Social Kitchen

October 29, 2014 3:42 am

Today’s kitchens are built for entertaining, digital networks and cooking, but creating one that meets all of these needs can be a challenge.

A recent survey conducted by Consumer Reports asked more than 1,000 Americans what activities they do in the kitchen at least once in a typical week and found that uses for the kitchen go beyond meal prep. Nearly half entertain regularly in the kitchen, 58 percent go online (think FaceTime and recipe downloads), and 61 percent use the space to do homework or other paperwork.

Design your very own social kitchen with these suggestions:
  • Open up the space – with care. Be judicious when eliminating barriers. Using half-walls or arched openings can create a sense of openness while maintaining traffic flow. Color can be a great connector between the kitchen and the larger living or dining room area.
  • Bring back the eat-in kitchen. Built-in banquettes are making a comeback. Casual dining is integral to the social kitchen, and it’s good for resale value. It’s also a place to do the bills or help with the homework and its base can provide additional storage.
  • Add an island. This central counter will give people a place to sit while the cook prepares the meal. Just don’t let it clog traffic – there should be 42 to 48 inches of clearance on all sides.
  • Build in charging stations. For many people, the kitchen is where their electronic devices live. Charging stations can be tucked into a cabinet or drawer that’s fitted with docks and electrical outlets.
Source: Consumer Reports

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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2014's Most Popular Halloween Costumes

October 28, 2014 3:54 am

Having taken the world by storm this year, Disney’s Frozen and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle characters will again come to life this Halloween. According to NRF’s 2014 Halloween Consumer Top Costumes Survey, an estimated 2.6 million children plan to dress up as one of Disney’s Frozen characters, while about 1.8 million children will dress as one of the re-imagined classic characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Princess (3.4 million), animal (3 million), and Spider-Man (2.6 million) will be other popular choices for children.

The survey also found 75 million adults will dress in costume, and most will stick to traditional options, including a witch (4.8 million), animal (2.6 million), Batman character (2 million), and pirate (1.8 million).

“It’s clear people love to get creative with costumes, looking for inspiration from pop culture and politics to history, and even the make-believe and fantasy world,” said Pam Goodfellow, Prosper Insights (survey conductor) Principal Analyst. “We’re surprised each year with the range of different costumes, and I’m sure this Halloween will be no exception, especially given the historic number of people planning to buy costumes for themselves, their children and even their pets.”

Findings revealed that among the 14.3 percent of celebrants planning to outfit their pets, 10.8 percent will dress their furry friends as a pumpkin. Fido and Fluffy will also be found disguised as hot dogs, devils, bumblebees and cats.

Source: NRF

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Halloween Candy Safety Measures All Parents Should Take

October 28, 2014 3:54 am

Halloween is a fun and exciting time for kids, but hazards exist when sorting through candy after a night of trick-or-treating. Parents must take precautions to determine whether a piece of candy is safe to consume, including:
  • Tell your children not to eat any treats until you have looked them over.
  • If candy treats are not commercially wrapped, or are found in torn, damaged or loose packages, throw them out.
  • Wash your hands before opening and eating candy treats.
  • Remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys from the loot bags of young children. Do not let children under three years of age play with any toys containing small parts.
  • Wash fresh fruit thoroughly and cut it open before eating it. Inspect for holes, including small punctures and cuts, and if any, do not eat the fruit. When in doubt – throw it out.
  • Consider giving out treats that do not contain ingredients like peanuts, tree nuts, milk and egg. These ingredients can cause severe reactions in individuals who have allergies or sensitivities.
  • Parents or caregivers of children with food allergies should read labels carefully and avoid candies that do not have an ingredient list, or that have a "may contain" statement for ingredients to which the child is allergic.
  • If your child has been prescribed an epinephrine auto-injector because of a food allergy, make sure they have it available whenever they are eating.
Source: Health Canada

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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