RE/MAX 440
Kathy B. Hayes
1110 North Broad Street
Lansdale  PA 19446
 Phone: 215-362-0800
Office Phone: 215-362-2260
Cell: 215-498-7058
Fax: 267-354-6839 
kathy@kathyhayesrealtor.com
Kathy B. Hayes

My Blog

Exercise Safety this Spring

May 16, 2014 2:30 am

Spring is the ideal time to take on outdoor home improvement projects, however, only a few among us are truly qualified to take on the risks that are inherent in many landscaping or renovation projects – particularly when they involve electrical systems.

No matter what's on your agenda, electrical safety behaviors and an awareness of your surroundings should be part of your planning. 4 Over Electric offers valuable safety reminders to owners or managers of residential and commercial structures alike, a few of which are listed below:

• Keep Electrical Cords Away from Water – When working outside this spring, remember to always keep electrical cords and equipment away from water or other wet areas.

• Inspect Cords on Power Tools and Electric Lawn Mowers – Many people will have neglected tools like power tools and lawn mowers over the winter months, only to bring them out for outdoor projects in the spring. In the preceding months, cords can become frayed for any number of reasons, leading to dangerous situations. Never use equipment that has frayed or broken plugs or cords until they have been properly repaired.

• Watch for Power Lines that are Hidden by Foliage – In highly populated areas, space is a luxury that is truly appreciated, making tree and shrub trimming a constant necessity. However, if a tree grows into power lines, the combination can be very dangerous. For these issues, it's often better to contact an electrical or landscaping professional.

These safety measures are important, but they are still only a small fraction of the potential risks that can occur when working with electricity. In most cases, it's best to contact a professional for interior and exterior electrical contracting alike.

Source: 4 Over Electric

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

How To Prep Your Car for Summer Driving

May 14, 2014 2:06 am

(BPT) - It is summer and you can't wait to get out on the road to head to the cabin, on vacation or just a nice carefree ride with the windows down. But while you may be ready to go, is your car? These quick vehicle inspection tips will help you make sure your vehicle is ready for the open road.

Is it cool in here?

Make sure your vehicle is ready to beat the heat by inspecting the air-conditioning (AC) and engine cooling systems. This means removing dirt and debris from the fins of the AC condenser and radiator.

While you're near the radiator, check the coolant level. Look in the owner's manual for the right anti-freeze. A newer car might require a completely different anti-freeze then what was used by that car's brand a few years ago. "Mixing incompatible anti-freezes can instantly gum up the cooling system," says Tom Taylor, engineer and vice president of auto parts retailer RockAuto.com.

Also check the cabin air filter that freshens the air flowing into the interior. This filter typically needs to be replaced annually, but it can clog up much faster if the car is driven on dirt roads or parked under trees. "Owners are so relieved when they discover their AC problems are solved by simply popping a new cabin air filter in place behind the glove box," says Taylor.

Kick the tires

Wherever you plan to go this summer, your tires will take you there; make sure they're in great shape.

Start by checking the tire pressure. Most tires have a maximum tire pressure printed on the side of the tire, but you want to inflate the tires only to the cold tire pressure printed on the decal inside the driver's door jam. "With today's low-profile tires, the difference between the maximum and cold pressures might be 20 PSI or more. Inflate a cold tire to the maximum pressure printed on the tire and it will be seriously over inflated once it hits the hot pavement," says Taylor.

Keep up that strict oil change schedule

If you want your engine to stay cool and last, it's essential that you change the oil at the appropriate times and with the proper oil. With older cars, owners might have used lighter weight oil in the winter and heavier oil in the summer. Today's engines often require the same weight oil year round. "Modern engines use oil as a hydraulic fluid for operating valves and doing other new things. Pour 10W-30 into a new engine that requires 0W-20 and there will likely be problems," says Taylor. Use the weight of oil recommended in the owner's manual and don't forget to change the oil filter too.

Take care of your vehicle and follow these tips and you can be sure it will be there with you for every new mile marker and memory this summer and beyond.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

What to Do if Contacted By a Debt Collector

May 14, 2014 2:06 am

U.S. consumers should know that they have important rights if contacted by a debt collector about a delinquent or defaulted account.

"Millions of consumers per year may find themselves behind on payments and are contacted by a creditor or debt collector," ACA International CEO Pat Morris said. "While no one ever wants to get a call or letter telling them they owe money, consumers need to know they are protected by very important federal and state laws."

America's economy relies on the repayment of consumer credit such as loans, credit cards, and bills for services rendered to keep costs down and ensure the availability of affordable credit. Federal, state, and local governments in the public sector also rely on the repayment of billions of taxpayer owed dollars in delinquencies including student loans, uncollected court fees, unpaid taxes, library fines, and traffic tickets. The following are helpful tips for U.S. consumers who may be contacted about a rightfully owed debt:

Know Your Rights. As the old adage goes, knowledge is power. Debt collection professionals have created a valuable resource called www.askdoctordebt.org to provide consumers with important information about their rights if contacted about a delinquent or defaulted debt.

Communicate. Ignoring a creditor or debt collector does not make the debt go away. In fact, it can make the situation worse. Communication is an important ally in taking control and working to resolve the reason for being contacted. It's a critical step in finding a consumer-friendly solution. If not the right person, it's important to correct this information. Similarly, communication provides an opportunity to resolve concerns or complaints.

Identification is Important. By law, a debt collector may not give out information about the existence of a debt to anyone other than the consumer or their attorney so they must confirm a consumer's identify before discussing specifics about an account. When debt collectors contact consumers they identify themselves by their company name so it can be confusing in that the consumer may have never heard of the business. Once a consumer has been properly identified, the collector can then reveal details about the debt.

Consumers have a Right to Dispute the Validity of the Debt. Third-party debt collectors work on behalf of their creditor clients to recover rightfully owed consumer obligations. By law, the collector must inform consumers of their right to dispute the debt and provide written verification if you dispute it in writing. Typically, collection activity stops until this verification is provided.

Active Military have Special Privileges. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows active military and, in a few cases, non-service members, to suspend or postpone certain civil obligations. A lender, creditor or insurer is prohibited by law from taking any adverse actions against military personnel because they exercised their rights under SCRA, which can only be exercised while engaged in active duty; including full-time training; annual training duty; and attendance at a service school while in active military service.

Protect Personal and Financial Information. Monitor accounts and immediately report any suspicious or unauthorized purchases to the bank or credit card provider. Consumers should monitor their credit report and report identity theft by contacting the local police department and visiting www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

Source: ACA International

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Fun in the Garden with Kids

May 13, 2014 1:54 am

There is something about digging in the dirt that brings us back to childhood. It is a reminder of the simpler days when spending time in the sunshine was all that was on our minds. Involving children in the garden has several benefits beyond making the outdoors a more beautiful space.

Foster creativity
Make children part of the adventure in gardening by including them on a visit to a local nursery. A simple shopping trip can be used to foster their creativity and make them think beyond simple colors. Pointing out the differences in plant varieties such as unique foliage textures or which plants attract butterflies or hummingbirds can make it a more memorable experience. Choose plants together and help to coordinate varieties for a fun project to do at home.

Fun Exercise
Children don't think of gardening as exercise, but the simple act can help improve mobility and flexibility. Try getting the kids involved by giving them the opportunity to help dig holes, pull pesky weeds or carry small loads of soil and mulch. Keeping them moving in the garden allows them to stay active while having a fun time doing it.

Sense of Accomplishment
Completing a garden project from start to finish gives kids a unique sense of accomplishment. Try planting a container garden by using a re-blooming shrub such as Mini Penny Hydrangea as the highlight in the pot. Include other plants such as ivy, begonias or creeping jenny to fill up spaces and grow over the side of the container. Children can help take care of the plant by watering and making sure it gets what it needs. As they see the container flourish, they can take pride in knowing they pulled it all together.

Healthy Benefits
Growing our own vegetables and fruits is a great way to provide healthy food for the family. When children invest time in the garden, they learn where food comes from and get satisfaction in trying what they have created. Planting edible shrubs such as Blue Suede Blueberry gives kids a chance to see how the fruit is formed. Nothing beats picking ripe berries in the summer for a healthy snack or sweet treat for dessert.

Priceless Family Time
You can't put a price on spending quality time together. Studies have shown that doing family activities outside organized sports will create stronger emotional bonds and better communication with children. What better way to spend time together than enjoying the fresh outdoor air and creating a garden project that lasts?

Get the kids outside and create memories that will last a lifetime. It is an activity that can become a lifelong passion that links generations together.

Source: Gardener's Confidence Collection

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

The Best BBQ Spots in America

May 12, 2014 1:42 am

TripAdvisor® has announced the highest-rated restaurants for barbecue. From sweet and saucy to simple and smoky, these spots serve up low-and-slow cooked meats that are sure to satisfy any travelers' tastes.

Franklin Barbecue, Austin, Texas. Committed carnivores often wait upwards of three hours to score a meal at this joint that serves up the Texas trinity of barbecue: brisket, ribs and sausage. The meat is simply seasoned with salt and pepper and then slow-cooked to perfection over an oak-fueled flame.

Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ & Catering, Kansas City, Kansas. Operating out of a gas station since 1996, this Kansas City restaurant offers a mouthwatering medley of meats that are dry rubbed and then slathered in the region’s distinctive tomato and molasses-based sauce. Fan favorites include burnt ends and the “Z-Man” sandwich, a unique stacking of brisket, provolone cheese and onion rings served atop a Kaiser roll.

Bogart’s Smokehouse, Saint Louis, Missouri. Since designing his first grill at the age of 14, pit-master Skip Steele has perfected the method for crafting melt-in-your-mouth meats. Patrons can choose between four homemade sauces including “Mad Maddie's,” a vinegar-based concoction, and “Pineapple Express,” a tangy and sweet sauce with a burst of tropical fruit.

Wiley’s Championship BBQ, Savannah, Georgia. With more than 30 years of experience winning awards on the national barbecue competition scene, husband and wife team Wiley and Janet McCrary opened their first brick and mortar restaurant in 2008. The joint pleases palates with low-and-slow cooked meats including savory St. Louis cut ribs.

Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que, Chattanooga, Tennessee. Amid the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachian Mountains in southeastern Tennessee, this log cabin style restaurant feeds famished barbecue fans with an emphasis on Southern hospitality. Dry-rubbed meats are smoked over hickory wood, and can be served on a plate, as a sandwich, or even stuffed inside a “killer” baked potato.

Jim’s Smokin’ Que, Blairsville, Georgia. Open Thursday through Saturday, this northern Georgia smokehouse advises guest to arrive early, as their succulent meats – including ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken and turkey – often sell out. Those lucky enough to score a meal can also enjoy their choice of satisfying sides, from Brunswick stew to banana pudding.

Joe’s BBQ, Blue Ridge, Georgia. In the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this joint satisfies hungry guests with tender and moist meats complemented by a selection of sauces including “Alabama white,” a mayonnaise-based mixture that has found fame in several Southeastern states.

Captain’s BBQ, Palm Coast, Florida. Boasting stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, this waterside smokeshack doubles as a bait-and-tackle shop. Moist and juicy meats are the backbone of the mouthwatering menu which offers up classic plates as well as more unique creations, including pulled pork burritos slathered in Baja sauce.

Poppa’s BBQ, Clearwater, Florida. On the Gulf of Mexico, Poppa’s BBQ delights tastebuds with their “Q.” The deliciously simple menu includes an assortment of slow-smoked pulled pork, juicy chicken and Memphis-style ribs that are generously rubbed with a special spice blend and served with a tomato and vinegar sauce on the side.

Madd Jacks Grillin Shack, Cape Canaveral, Florida. This beach-themed joint brings a taste of the West Coast to the Sunshine State, as chef Robby O’Connor dishes out generous portions of California-style barbecue including sliced tri-tips that are dry-rubbed and cooked over white oak for a slightly smoky kick. 

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Bring Fun to Life’s Messiest Moments

May 9, 2014 1:06 am

(Family Features) Who says cleaning has to be boring? If you’ve just had a large party, are making room for a new wardrobe or simply doing house chores, there are plenty of ways to turn an otherwise mundane task into a fun activity.
In fact, lifestyle bloggers, Jessie Jane of LilyShop, Kelly Lee of Kelly Golightly, and Jennifer Brandt of Perfectly Disheveled learned firsthand how to make cleanups more fun when surprise “Trash Crashers” were sent to clean-up their parties.
The bloggers have these tips to make cleanup more fun in your home:

• Host a clothing swap. Designate areas in your house for certain items, such as shoes, accessories and jackets. Once all the clothing has been sorted, swapped and shopped, you can bag up the remaining items to donate or take to a resale store. Afterwards, all of your belongings will be organized and easy to find.

• Add extra bags. Keep extra trash bags at the bottom of each trash can. This way, during the party you (or a handy helper) can empty full trash cans in a snap and easily put a new bag in without having to scramble.

• Keep clean-up easy. Don't let extra party food go to waste. Instead, send your guests home with leftovers in food storage containers. They'll appreciate the snack and you'll appreciate that nothing will go to waste. Plus, this means less clean-up work for you.

• Make it a competition.
Have each person in your family grab a trash bag when you’re cleaning up after a party or another messy occasion. Set a timer so you can see who has collected the most trash after 5-10 minutes. If you’re playing with little ones, you can even have a little candy treat for the winners.

• Work it out. Cleaning is a great way to burn calories. Put on your favorite tunes and you've got a great opportunity to work in some cardio. You can lunge around the room, run or skip – anything to get your heart pumping. Plus, lifting full heavy duty trash bags is excellent for toning your legs and arms.

Source: Glad

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Simple Ways to Recycle Electronics and Reduce E-waste

May 8, 2014 12:54 am

(BPT) - Reduce, reuse, recycle - it's a mantra we've known for decades. While Americans understand the benefits of recycling bottles, cans and paper, they aren't as savvy when it comes to recycling electronics. Between cellphones, tablets, computers and other consumer electronic devices, the average U.S. house has 24 electronic devices - making for a lot of e-waste when that technology becomes dated.

While it may be tempting to put electronic devices and batteries in the trash, it's critical to understand how to properly dispose of and recycle electronics because each contains contaminants that are harmful to the environment. Here are three big e-waste offenders - cellphones, batteries and computers - and how each can be properly recycled.

Cell phones and mobile devices

You probably have a few sitting in a drawer at your house - cellphones you no longer use but aren't really sure what to do with. According to Bamboo Mobile, it is expected that there will be roughly 396 million idle or inactive mobile devices in the U.S. by the end of 2014, and of those, only about 80 million will be recycled.

Recycling small electronic devices is easier than ever, and you might even get some money in the process. Just find the nearest ecoATM at a mall or retailer nearby. The kiosks pay you for recycling phones, MP3 players and tablets that are broken or no longer being used. Just place your device in the kiosk and the machine examines it and determines a bid. If you agree to sell it, you get cash immediately. Approximately 75 percent of ecoATM devices purchased find a second life - old or broken phones are responsibly recycled. Visit www.ecoatm.com for more information.

If you don't have an ecoATM near you, most cellphone providers offer recycling programs within stores. While you won't earn cash, you'll still have the opportunity to properly recycle your mobile devices and keep toxic materials out of the waste stream. Keep in mind, for every million cellphones recycled, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Batteries

From your electric toothbrush to your TV remote or your children's animated toys - each day your family uses a lot of batteries. In fact, every year Americans throw out almost 180,000 tons of batteries, according to Earth911, and the majority of these are the single-use type (not rechargeable).

Dry-cell batteries are used in most consumer electronics, and these include alkaline and carbon zinc batteries (including some D, C, AA, AAA and 9-volt) and lithium batteries (including some 9-volt, C, AA and rechargeables). Another type to be aware of are wet-cell batteries that are found in cars, boats and motorcycles. Both dry and wet-cell batteries must be properly recycled.

Recycling all types of batteries helps to prevent pollution and reuse valuable metals. Start by checking with your local government or recycling center to learn how to properly dispose of batteries. Automotive stores will often collect and recycle wet-cell batteries. For dry-cell batteries, many municipalities offer boxes in city halls, libraries and community centers where batteries can be placed for recycling. Additionally, consumer electronics stores often have recycling kiosks available to consumers.

Computers and laptops


Computers are part of most people's daily lives, but when it comes time to upgrade, don't put your legacy electronics in the trash. Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 U.S. homes in a year, according to the EPA.

For old laptops and computers, research donation possibilities in your area. While the technology might be dated for your purposes, it could still be put to good use at a local school, library or retirement center. If there isn't a place where your computer can find a second life, recycle it through a reputable organization.

Start by researching your computer manufacturer's recycling programs. From simple recycling drop-off programs to mail-in recycling options, most manufacturers make it easy to reduce e-waste. In addition, most counties offer waste drop-off sites where you can bring your computer - as well as any other electronics - to be properly disposed of and recycled. Call your city or county to learn about available options.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Protect Your Home from Wildfire

May 8, 2014 12:54 am

Wildfire season is approaching and it’s time to make sure you have done everything you can to protect your property. Firefighters must make snap judgments about which structures to try to save and which are too dangerous to defend. A defensible space is required to protect your home from approaching fire and to give some protection to the firefighters. Firefighters will risk their lives to protect your home, but not if you haven’t done your part.

First, don’t start wildfires. Ninety percent of wild fires are started by people. Some fires are started by lightning, but most are caused by campfires, cook fires, cigarettes or matches, fireworks, and arson. In dry areas, many fires are started by improper disposal of ashes. Fireplace and woodstove ashes can smolder for a week and a half. A strong gust of wind can ignite buried ashes.

One recent wildfire was caused by a 20-year-veteran volunteer firefighter who buried ashes in a pit. He soaked and stirred the ashes, but several days later a strong wind fanned the smoldering ashes into a fire that consumed his home and 165 others. The humidity is so low in certain regions at times that organic material in soil may smolder seeming to burn dirt.

The second thing is to make the space around your house defensible. Clean away anything that might burn that is on or next to your house. Wildfires mainly spread through flying embers. Pine needles and leaves on your roof or in your gutters can catch fire. This is even more of a problem if your roof covering is not fire resistant. Class A materials are the most resistant to fire and include fiberglass shingles and tile materials. Untreated wooden shake shingles have the lowest fire rating and take little to ignite.

If you are in a wildfire-prone area, remove shrubs and trees within 10 feet of your house. Clean all combustibles from this immediate area. Trees and bushes within 30 feet of a structure need to be kept pruned with tree branches below 6 feet removed. Stack fire wood and store propane grill tanks, and other highly flammable materials. Install propane tanks for home heating at least 30 feet away from your house. This provides a buffer zone for firefighters to defend your house.

During an active fire your home will be evaluated if threatened. If you have prepared a proper defense zone no action may be required and precious manpower can be used elsewhere. If you have a fair defensive zone, firefighters may improve the zone and move on if possible. They may need to actively protect your property if weather conditions escalate the danger. If a functional defensive zone exists and it can be defended without a high probability of loss of life, firefighters will try to save it. If saving your house endangers their lives more than the house next door, they will put more energy into saving your neighbor.

Dead trees and are extremely flammable. If dead pine trees are next to and hanging over the house, temperatures in a forest fire can get hot enough to cause pine trees to explode spreading embers in all directions. Again, firefighters will defend the properties that can be saved with the least manpower and danger first. The more you do to protect them the more they can do to protect your property.

In grass land areas, fire can be just as threatening as in the forests. Grass fires burn extremely hot and can move at high speeds if wind driven. If your property has accessible fuel it can be consumed quickly. If there is no accessible fuel, it’s likely your property will survive where the house next door may not. Include your defensive zone in your spring clean-up and maintenance list.

Source: Carl Brahe, Certified Professional Inspector

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

The Hazards of Hoarding

May 7, 2014 12:42 am

The effects of hoarding can result in a variety of different issues that cannot be readily seen upon first diagnosis of the problem. What drives hoarding many times are conditions related to OCD. However, the long term effects can be an issue for both the individual who is suffering from it, but also their loved ones as well. Some of these effects can be fatal in the most extreme of cases.

One of the issues that can be affected is one's personal safety. The individual can cause a possible hazard to the structure of their building due to the excessive weight of the items that have accumulated over time. This weight could compromise the structural integrity of the building itself and result in the possibility of the building collapsing in on itself. Also, the items that the individual might be collecting could possibly be flammable and this could present a fire hazard.

In many states, individuals who are hoarders often face legal repercussions in regards to their actual property. If a hoarder is leasing or renting a property from a landlord, they can be evicted under certain laws and ordinances. This often is shown in court by the landlord demonstrating that the individual is risking the other individuals in the building. However, if hoarders do become homeless, they may not have a shelter to go to as often, shelters do not allow for hoarders to stay in their buildings because of the potential risk to other people.

If a parent poses a risk to the health and safety of a child, the child may be taken away into protective custody. The main reason for the child being removed is the potential health risks, since the items that can collect can decompose or become infested with bacteria that is harmful to humans. The infestation can cause respiratory issues due to mold, or ammonia from human waste and animal waste. Also, if a person does become sick from the items that are decomposing, emergency crews may have difficulty removing an individual from a property surrounded by waste.

All of these issues listed are hazards of hoarding. Not only does the hoarding risk the personal well-being of a hoarder, but it affects their loved ones as well. A hoarding situation can cause someone to lose to control over their possessions, family and home. Seek a professional hoarding cleanup company to help before the situation becomes out of control.

Source: Address Your Mess

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Disappearing Designs and Relaxing Environments Lead Bathroom Remodel Trends

May 7, 2014 12:42 am

A survey conducted by Geberit revealed that 30 percent of Americans believe the toilet tank is the most unappealing feature of their bathroom, revealing a growing shift towards form over function in bathroom design ahead of National Home Remodeling Month in May.

"Homeowners want to make their bathrooms sleek and spa-like," said Liz Murray, a Portland, Oregon-based interior designer. "Expect to see more 'disappearing designs' that tuck away anything that looks untidy, along with products that bring smart home technology to the bathroom to really transform the space into a sanctuary for the mind and body."
A survey from Houzz revealed that 17 percent of homeowners are opting for wall-mounted or tankless toilets instead of traditional toilets, pointing to the rise in "disappearing designs."

Another ongoing trend identified by Murray is the continued popularity of eco-friendly products: "Products created from sustainable materials like bamboo, cork, porcelain or recycled glass will be prominently featured during this year's remodeling season," said Murray.

Designing the Perfect Bathroom:
When asked to describe their perfect bathroom, Americans ranked creating a nice place to relax (37 percent), saving space (24 percent) and making it a quiet atmosphere (20 percent) as the most important qualities of a bathroom. A sleek and modern bathroom style appeals to 44 percent of Americans, followed by spa-inspired (27 percent) and elegant luxury (19 percent).

"The modern bathroom serves more than just the basic functions of traditional bathrooms," said John Fitzgerald, vice president of marketing for Geberit North America. "We're seeing people using their bathrooms to also read, check smartphones and listen to music."

According to the survey, 47 percent of Americans use their bathroom to read books or magazines, take a phone call or check email (35 percent) or listen to music (27 percent).

Good Bathrooms Matter: One third of Americans believe that having high-quality, updated bathrooms is important when making home rental or purchase decisions, meaning bathroom remodels are an important factor to consider during the spring real estate season. In fact, a survey conducted by Houzz revealed that 40 percent of homeowners are planning to remodel in the next two years and 27 percent of remodeling projects will be bathroom-related.

Source: Geberit North America

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags: