RE/MAX 440
Karen Kemmerer
Karen Kemmerer
701 W. Market Street | Perkasie, PA 18944
Phone: 215-453-7653 x1125 | Office Phone: 215-453-7653 | Fax: 267-354-6831
Cell: 267-446-7748 | email: kkemmerer@remax440.com

Perkasie PA Real Estate News

Pre-Boomers Happy with Homeowners Insurance, Gen Y Most Critical

September 29, 2014 4:22 am

According to the recently released J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Household Insurance Study, satisfaction with homeowners insurance is highest among Pre-Boomers, or those born before 1946. Gen Y consumers, or Millennials, who comprise the largest group of homebuyers in the United States, are more critical of their homeowners insurance than any other generational group.

Gen Y consumers expressed the most concern with interactions with service providers and claims processing.

“Millennials are a critical demographic for insurance companies, given that they are the largest group of homebuyers and renters,” said Valerie Monet, director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power. “Insurers in one or both of these product categories need to pay very close attention to Millennials, evaluate the usability of their website and find new ways to communicate with customers, such as through the use of email, apps and online chat.”

Insurers that are most successful in understanding and meeting the expectations of Gen Y customers have a higher rate of executing on the following service practices than insurers less successful in understanding Gen Y needs: informing customers of other products and services; providing access to policy information online; ensuring complete understanding of the bill; limiting bill errors; resolving issues in one contact; and limiting customer-reported problems.

“In short, insurers benefit from ensuring that their Gen Y customers are well informed, and that there are no issues or problems in servicing their policy,” said Monet. The study also revealed:
  • Overall customer satisfaction with homeowner insurers is up since 2013, increasing 3 points on a 1,000-point scale. This increase is driven largely by an improvement in price factor.
  • Sixty percent of customers indicate their homeowners insurance premiums have remained the same during the past 12 months, up from 58 percent in 2013.
  • The proportion of customers who experience an insurer-initiated premium increase dropped slightly to 29 percent in 2014 from 30 percent in 2013.
Conversely, satisfaction with renters insurance is highest among Boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964. Echoing similar sentiments, Gen Y is also the most critical of renters insurance.

Source: J.D. Power

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Dress Up Your Home with a Chandelier

September 29, 2014 4:22 am

Twenty years ago, a chandelier was a sure thing in two rooms in the home – the foyer and dining room. Homeowners today have extended those parameters, using chandeliers as statement-making additions to everything from bedrooms to closets. What’s influencing this trend?

“The two-story foyer is essentially disappearing from new architecture,” says Jeff Dross, Corporate Director of Education and Industry Trends with Kichler Lighting. Pendants are making inroads into dining rooms, too, so chandelier use is naturally migrating to other spaces.

Where homeowners spend most of their time has changed, too. Master bedrooms with expansive vaulted ceilings have turned into mini living environments to accommodate relaxing and reading. Bathrooms have become larger, and guest areas are not just throwaway spaces anymore. It is that switch from pure function to aesthetics that is also driving the appearance of chandeliers in unexpected places.

While chandeliers come in a range of styles, sizes and colors, the functions of chandeliers have certain commonalities. Their height and structure naturally pulls the eye up and around a room, creating movement. Color or crystals can add visual interest, as can the mix of materials that make up the arms of a fixture.

“The illuminated candles and brilliant sparkle of crystal chandeliers provide multiple light points and create a vivid, less static environment,” says Mike Hadank, Director Retail Sales of North America, Swarovski Lighting. “Chandeliers add a sense of elegance and mood to any space.”

The American Lighting Association suggests that homeowners remember these two points when installing a chandelier:
  • Don’t hang the chandelier too high. “People will hang it a mile from the table,” says Dross. A rule of thumb: Keep it about 30 inches from the bottom of the chandelier to the top of the table.
  • Scale up the chandelier size for the dining room. Dross recommends a chandelier that is slightly oversized in a dining room. “It fills the space a little better when it is a touch larger. If it’s a pipsqueak-size chandelier, it loses its impact. If you really like a small chandelier, put in two of them.”
When it comes to design, Dross is seeing an upswing in contemporary styles as Generation X and Y consumers move into their own homes and work on their own renovations, as well as Baby Boomers looking to redo their own decorating styles. As oversize furniture becomes less popular, the scale of contemporary chandeliers works better for newly streamlined spaces.

Source: ALA

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Lost Phone? 8 Ways to Prevent Financial Risks

September 26, 2014 4:22 am

On average, an individual loses his or her cell phone at least once a year. In the U.S., 113 cell phones are lost every minute. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and mobile security firm Lookout, lost phones pose risks financially – 51 percent of smartphone users log in to mobile banking. In the hands of hackers, your billing address may change, your funds may be transferred out of your account, or your account may even be cancelled.

The FCC and Lookout recommend taking the following steps to protect your finances.

Before losing your phone

  • Set up a pin or passcode to keep your phone locked at all times.
  • Include contact information on the phone’s lock screen.
  • Install antitheft software with a GPS tracker, remote wiping system and alarm.
  • Keep a record of the device’s make, model number, serial number and IMEI or MEID number.
After losing your phone
  • Activate antitheft software immediately.
  • Contact your mobile provider to cut off access.
  • Monitor financial accounts for any unusual changes.
  • File a police report, if theft is suspected.
Source: Bankrate.com

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Sustainability and Functionality Key Décor Trends in 2015

September 26, 2014 4:22 am

Décor trends in 2015 favor functionality, with designers turning to self-renewing materials that are both stylish and environmentally friendly. Looking towards the new year, celebrity designer Vern Yip lists these six trends to watch.

1. View the floor as an extension of the living space. Opt for materials that are both stylish and comfortable, such as cork flooring. Warm, soft on the feet and eco-friendly, cork's natural ability to insulate against heat, cold, noise and vibration make it an ideal choice for "on-the-floor living.”

2. In open concept homes, mix and match old with new, high with low or light with dark. Using timeless and resilient materials, or those that can be used and reused, allows homeowners to be eclectic and bold.

3. Geometrical and angular designs are making a comeback. Think of zigzag, herringbone or chevron patterns to bring mid century flair back into your home.

4. Living outdoors is a great way of maximizing living space. Make it cozy with pillow, tiki lights or a bonfire pit. In cold temperatures, use heat lamps positioned around the border of the patio.

5. Look at the floor, which is a home's largest surface area, as a canvas. It offers ample opportunities to add visual interest and achieve a unique look. Think about combining textures and colors. Create a pattern of alternating colors and grains.

6. Break away from a sea of neutrals. Replace old pillow covers, throws or lampshades to reflect the hues and tones of the season. Or, create an accent wall with a printed wallpaper or painted design. Do keep your larger items white or neutral, so that you can easily mix and match seasonal colors with permanent pieces.

"The variety of stylish product choices available to today's environmentally-conscious consumers is remarkable," says Yip. He points to the many color choices of no-VOC paint, new agave plant and sisal fiber area rugs as great examples of the intersection between style, functionality and environmental responsibility.

Source: APCOR

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Four Hidden Clutter Caches in Your Home

September 26, 2014 4:22 am

Did you know that clutter can accumulate even in the neatest of homes? Families with minimal clutter can benefit from de-cluttering in unexpected spaces. In fact, storage solutions often amass the most unnecessary items, becoming a seemingly organized catch-all.

Consider removing clutter from these storage areas around the home.

Filing Cabinets
– While an effective filing system is necessary for saving important documents, take time periodically to remove papers that you are no longer required to keep.

Pantries – Once a month, clear your pantry of expired food products, specialty items you no longer have use for, or non-expired items you want to donate.

Bookshelves – Avid readers have difficulty letting go of books. Scan your bookcase for a few books each year that you might lend to friends or donate. Pack away or donate collections you are not actively adding to.

Computers
– Digital storage is one of the biggest culprits of clutter. Condense or delete unnecessary folders and files to free up cyberspace.

Source: Unclutterer.com

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10 Signs You Are Ready to Invest in Real Estate

September 25, 2014 10:22 am

When it comes to property investment, timing is everything. Ultimately, choosing the right time to enter the market will have a significant impact on the long-term success of your investment.

But how can you as an investor know whether the timing is right? Global property portal Lamudi has compiled a list of 10 tell-tale signs that now is the time to start building your investment portfolio.

1. You are financially ready. You have saved enough for the down payment and you have also established your emergency fund. You have taken into account home maintenance expenses. Your credit history is good and you are able to meet all the financial obligations.

2. You have set your long-term goals. You have a clear picture in your mind of the purpose of your investment and you are flexible enough to adjust to changing circumstances. You are not hesitant and when the timing is right, you are able to adapt to the market needs and the development of technologies.

3. You have done your research. You know the neighborhood of your future property well enough to foresee the coming trends and the possible changes in the community. You have researched all the schools in the area as well as the best commuting means and you are able to predict the next homebuyers needs.

4. You have chosen a stable economy. The area is financially stable, economic trends are promising and equities are surging. No demographic fluctuation or no irregular variation of population have been recorded in the area.

5. You understand the country’s policies regarding real estate. The policies of the region promote and encourage a positive, innovative environment as well as drive further economic growth. The tax policy in the country is positive for homeowners. Global innovation index is rising in the area.

6. Infrastructure projects are underway and likely to lead to an increase in property values. The infrastructure of the area is being developed with a focus on: transport, energy, solid waste and water management developments.

7. The region is moving toward sustainable development. The region’s awareness of global and local environmental issues is increasing, the demand for eco-friendly homes as well as for sustainable rural and urban development is rising. As more and more people head toward sustainable living, investing in sustainable property will increase its value in the future.

8. The location draws a lot of interest. Whether it is the best travel destination or the hot jobs spot, the location is always on the top of the search engine. It has become a successful startup hub already or is planning to do so in the coming years, driving a lot of job seekers into the area. The number of enrolled students is increasing every year, the area draws interest of international students.

9. You have found a reliable real estate agent. If you are an overseas buyer, it is particularly crucial to make sure you have a good representative on the ground. Your real estate agent is trustworthy and knows the local market well enough to be able to help you make the choice.

10. You have researched local differences in the property market. Whether you plan to invest in a residential property and turn it into a rental or an office space, you are fully aware of all cultural differences that might occur when you deal with a property seller.

Source: Lamudi

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Keep Family Safe from Home's Hidden Hazards

September 25, 2014 10:22 am

(Family Features) In the U.S. alone, approximately 60 million people suffer from asthma and allergies, which can be triggered by mold for those who are allergic. As a responsible homeowner, it’s essential to be aware of the many threats, such as mold and fire, which may cause harm to your family and your investment.

Mold – Mold can grow practically anywhere within the home, and has the ability to produce irritants and allergens that compromise the health of your family. To keep mold-producing moisture out, Lucas Hamilton, building scientist and expert with CertainTeed, suggests:
  • When weather allows, ventilate your home by opening windows and doors to let moisture escape. If necessary, use a fan to allow air to circulate.
  • Because moisture is unavoidable in any home, its presence in the wall cavity is almost inevitable and can be dangerous if not addressed. Your best prevention is with quality insulation that provides a healthier indoor environment by reducing the risk of mold and mildew and improving overall indoor air quality.
  • While you won’t be able to stop rain from creating a wet mess in your basement or crawlspace, you can take action to steer water away. Make sure a proper grade exists in your yard to prevent water from reaching the foundation.
Fire – Beyond investing in quality smoke and fire detectors, there are several other things to consider to keep your home free from flames:
  • Before hanging up a mirror or wall art, make sure you aren’t driving a nail through the wiring in the walls — a danger that accounts for thousands of home fires each year. To avoid this mishap, switch out circuit breakers with arc-fault circuit interrupters, which detect sparks and prevent them from blazing.
  • The kitchen is a hot spot for fires to start. Always keep combustible items such as towels, pot holders and cookbooks at least 3-4 feet from burners, the oven and other heat sources.
  • Reduce the risk of fire by having your clothes dryer cabinet professionally cleaned every few years. If enough lint accumulates within the dryer, the heating element within the appliance can start a fire.
Take the proper steps now to avoid unsafe conditions within the home. In the long run, it can save you time, money and even the well-being of your family.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Update Your Bedding with Three Hot Trends

September 25, 2014 10:22 am

Nothing transforms the look of a bedroom faster than new bed linens. Whether you want to create a serene atmosphere, liven up a neutral space or swap your bedding for a seasonal alternative, consider introducing one of this year’s trends – white, stripes or geometric shapes – that fit beautifully with any existing décor.

White – White is the color of soft, pillowy clouds. To avoid that sterile, ‘blank slate’ feel, layer white in varying shades and textures, such as a cream-colored throw blanket, sandy-white pillows or eggshell lampshades.

Stripes
– Typically found in nautical décor, stripes add visual interest and can be preppy, modern or vintage depending on the dimensions of the pattern. Wider widths and vibrant colors make a dramatic statement; pinstripes and muted colors are much more subtle.

Geometric – Geometric-shaped patterns speak volumes about one’s personality, so incorporate according to your style and preferences. Geometric prints on larger areas, such as a comforter, quilt or bed sheets, have greater impact, but smaller geometric bed accessories, such as pillows, have longevity.

Source: ApartmentTherapy.com

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Five Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

September 25, 2014 10:22 am

Is your relationship with your financial advisor productive? Are you confident about your financial decisions after leaving a meeting, or are you left scratching your head at the proposed investment strategy? Take the lead with your financial advisor by asking these five questions.

1. Are we on the same page?
Have you communicated your investment goals clearly to your financial advisor? With a clear goal in mind, outline long-term objectives, as well as your approach to investing. Setting these expectations will help you avoid searching for a new advisor or worse – potentially damaging your portfolio.

2. How will you achieve my financial goals?
Whether you’re seeking to gain returns or minimize your taxes, it’s important that your financial advisor informs you exactly how he or she is going to make those goals a reality. Be wary of false promises – no matter what your advisor tells you, the stock market is unpredictable. Another red flag: your advisor has not reviewed your tax returns.

3. Can you explain this better?
Financial advisors often use professional terms that may or may not resonate with the average investor. While it’s great that they know their stuff, don’t be afraid to ask that he or she explains everything in detail. If a financial plan seems too complex, even after an explanation, request that the plan be condensed so that you adopt a feasible strategy that meets your needs and understanding.

4. What other resources do you have?
It’s perfectly acceptable to ask your advisor to direct you to other sources of financial information. Ideally, your advisor will have a list of websites, books or pamphlets to further educate you about your investment options.

5. How often will you contact me?
To keep the lines of communication open, establish a schedule with your advisor for quarterly phone calls, annual meetings, etc. Be sure to state which method of communication you prefer, and whether you want your spouse to be involved in the conversation.

Source: Consumer Reports

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Seasonal Home Decor: 5 Fall Trends

September 25, 2014 10:22 am

With fall in full swing, homeowners should take time to transition from summertime decor to autumnal accents throughout the home. Usher in the change of seasons by pairing these trends with rich, saturated colors.
  • Go natural. Natural and organic patterns are a big trend this fall -- add branch-patterned textiles and wall coverings for a dose of whimsy. A swirled or marbleized pattern is also popular and works well on accent pillows or bedding. For an unexpected twist, try an oversized natural organic print painted onto a dining room wall. For a crisp, monochromatic look, paint the design in two shades of the same color.
  • Glamour-ize. Try changing out the hardware on an accent chest or dresser, or hang a fun light fixture in an office, powder room or bedroom in a gold finish. It's okay to mix finishes in this case -- gold blends nicely with bronze and black finishes used elsewhere in the home.
  • Create coziness. Cooler weather encourages the transition from sleek and modern kitchens to a more cozy, relaxed feel for the space. Add décor and accessories created from reclaimed wood for a warm, rustic space this season.
  • Add sparkle. Large mirrors and mirrored surfaces add depth and interest to any space. Use a leaning floor mirror in a dining room, a large round mirror over a fireplace or entry console, or a large hanging mirror in a small space to reflect light and make a space appear larger. For a real wow factor, use a collection of vintage mirrors along a hallway or staircase to create a striking gallery display.
  • Mix it up. Avoid matching and coordinating sets, décor and fabrics. Bring in a mix of styles, old and new, and crisp and soft. This will make your home look lived in and add a designer touch.
Source: Ace Hardware

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