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

Winter an Active Time for Interior Painting

March 5, 2013 2:52 am

Winter weather and higher precipitation bring to a halt many types of home improvement. But as the colder weather drives homeowners indoors, one project picks up steam: interior painting.

“Free from the demands of outdoor chores and the distraction of outdoor activities, many homeowners turn their attention to indoor projects, with painting as a popular undertaking,” says Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert for the Paint Quality Institute.

It makes sense that interior painting sits atop the winter to-do list. New Year’s resolutions often include not just steps to improve oneself, but also one’s home. To that end, interior painting is a simple and inexpensive way to enhance a room or an entire home that can be accomplished even by an inexperienced do-it-yourselfer.

If you’re one of the many who are planning to do some interior painting this winter, Zimmer offers some suggestions on getting the best results:

Properly prepare surfaces by removing dirt and grime before starting to paint. This can be done by washing walls and woodwork with a detergent-water solution, rinsing the surfaces clean, and allowing them to dry. Repair cracks, holes and surface imperfections with spackling compound, and apply stain-blocking primer to any areas that have water stains or other serious discoloration.

Use the best quality paint. Top quality 100 percent acrylic latex paints resist spattering, tend to conceal brush marks, and do a better job of hiding the color underneath. They also are tougher and more durable, with better long-term resistance to fading, yellowing, and staining.

Work with high quality brushes and rollers. Better quality applicators apply the paint more evenly and make painting more effortless. The best brushes tend to be well balanced and springy, with tightly packed bristles (these will hold a lot of paint). When applying latex water-based paints, use brushes and rollers made with synthetic bristles and covers – they’ll maintain their shape regardless of the amount of water they’re exposed to.

Follow these simple tips and your indoor painting project will produce results that you’ll be happy with not just this winter, but for a long time to come.

Source: Paint Quality Institute

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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How Do I Sell My Timeshare? 5 Top Tips

March 5, 2013 2:52 am

If you're looking to sell a timeshare or vacation ownership, make the right decision when it comes to putting your property up for sale. Here are a few tips and things to keep in mind when you're trying to sell.

How many years of experience does the company you've chosen to list with have within the resale sector?

This is one of the most important factors when choosing a company to help you with the sale of your ownership. Companies with many years of expertise within the resale sector are always the best companies to deal with. If they have been selling timeshares for longer than a decade, then they must have a tried and tested method for finding timeshare buyers for ownerships worldwide.

Make sure the company is fully compliant with governmental law.

There are many companies out there to choose from, however, very few comply with the strict timeshare laws put it place by their respective governments. Some companies will state they are members of certain industry governing bodies; however, this is not enough in some cases. Make sure that the company's paperwork complies with National and International law in the areas they are trading from.

Place your ownership where buyers are looking.

This may seem a logical thing to do, however, too many owners pay for marketing and do not get any exposure whatsoever. This can be checked very easily by searching Google.com for relevant terms pertaining to your ownership i.e., "timeshare resales at Marriott Son Antem." Always check results on Google as this gives the widest search, greatest traffic and best possible chance of selling.

Beware of Exit Programs!

Over the last few years, many exit companies have sprung up offering owners the chance to alleviate their on going worldwide timeshare membership for an initial cost. This gives owners expectations of removing themselves from their ongoing yearly commitments and the impression that they will not receive any further maintenance bills. Sadly, in most cases, this is not the case.

Pricing your ownership to sell.

When pricing your ownership to sell, be realistic with the timeshare resale value. There are many companies within the industry that will over-value your ownership. If you over-value your ownership, it doesn't matter how many potential clients see it for sale, no one will enquire.

Source: Visions of the World Ltd

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Spring Cleaning: Time to Rid your Home of Potential Dangers

March 5, 2013 2:52 am

It's almost time to start your spring cleaning! In addition to de-cluttering and cleaning your home this spring, make safety a priority and rid your home of potential hazards. The Window Covering Safety Council wants to help you keep your little ones safe this season.

While some safety measures are routine, there are some potential dangers that you may be overlooking that can be dangerous for young children. You can help prevent unintentional household injuries by taking these simple measures to reduce danger in your home:

Always keep cribs and other low-standing furniture away from windows.

Secure all bookcases, shelving and heavy furniture. Place heavier items on lower shelves and in bottom drawers.

Many houseplants are poisonous, and pots are heavy, so keep them out of reach of little hands.

Keep children away from areas you are cleaning and open windows to ventilate the room.

Safely store house cleaners, detergents and poisons out of reach of children.

Replace older window coverings with today's safer, cordless products. The Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) is urging parents to only use cordless window products in homes with young children. Make the right choice and use cordless products to keep your children safe year-round.

Source: Window Covering Safety Council

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Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Flavorful Green Treats

March 4, 2013 2:48 am

(Family Features) St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect occasion to have fun in the kitchen with the color and flavor of the holiday – vivid green and refreshing peppermint.

“Food color and extract can transform an ordinary cupcake or cookie into a festive delight, worthy of any St. Paddy’s party,” said Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens.

For a green twist on classic red velvet cupcakes, stir green food color into basic cake mix and add pure vanilla extract, sour cream and cocoa powder. Whip up minty green cream cheese frosting and decorate with green sprinkles or colored sugar to make them fun for kids of all ages.

Easy Green Velvet Cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Makes 24 servings

1 package (18 1/4 ounces) German chocolate cake mix with pudding
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 bottle (1 ounce) Green Food Color
3 eggs
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1 container (16 ounces) cream cheese frosting or Vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
Green sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat cake mix, sour cream, water, cocoa powder, oil, food color, eggs and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just until moistened, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.

Pour batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.

Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire rack. Frost with cream cheese frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Minty Green Cream Cheese Frosting:
Stir 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract and 1/2 teaspoon green food color into canned cream cheese frosting or Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened, 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened, 2 tablespoons sour cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1 box (16 ounces) confectioners' sugar until smooth. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Source: McCormick

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How-To: Consolidate Debt and Credit

March 4, 2013 2:48 am

No one likes to be in debt. But if you find yourself falling behind, don’t throw in your financial towel just yet. Through careful consolidation, you can get back on track. Read the following tips for help.

A smart first step is for you to define your goals. You need a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and how it will benefit you, in order to make the right debt consolidation choice.

Many different approaches exist to help you consolidate debt, so you need to do your homework. Only by weighing the pros and cons of each solution, can you know the best option for your situation. Think about which of the following goals is most important to you. Once you have chosen, you will know where to focus.

1. Improve Your Cash Flow: Reducing the size of your monthly payments frees up money you can use in a variety of ways.
2. Get Out of Debt as Fast as Possible: Becoming debt free allows you to focus on building wealth, establishing a rainy-day fund, or buying a home.
3. Protect Your Credit: You may need to weigh if it is worth harming your credit, in order to get out of debt faster.
4. Get Out of Debt at Lowest Total Cost: Reducing your overall costs to becoming debt free puts more money in your pocket to use for achieving other financial goals.
5. Reduce Your Debt Stress: Stress can come from fear of missing a monthly payment, repeated collection calls, or simply by the uncertainty of having no defined plan in place. Achieving greater peace of mind may be your primary goal.

Once you have a concrete goal in mind, get to work making it a reality. If need be, contact a professional for assistance.

Source: Bills.com

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No More Sick Days: Beat that Stomach Bug

March 4, 2013 2:48 am

As seasonal flu trends begin to decrease, cases of a fast-spreading stomach bug known as 'Norovirus' continue to spread across the country, creating serious complications for patients, and continued demand on health care organizations.

Norovirus is a contagious virus that can infect anyone, and can be spread by an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, leading to severe stomach pains, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Unlike seasonal influenza, there is no vaccine to prevent the spread of the Norovirus.

"Following this year's strong influenza season, the Norovirus has the potential to create greater complications in infants and the elderly, leading to severe dehydration," says Bill Lewis, M.D, senior vice president of Medical Operations at Concentra. "The easiest way to reduce the risk of catching and spreading the virus is through thorough and frequent hand washing, and routine cleaning."

However there are some simple precautions each person can take to reduce the transmission of the virus, and stay healthy and safe:

• Wash your hands often – Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers, and before eating, preparing, or handling food.
• Rinse fruits and vegetables before eating – Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them.
• Cook foods thoroughly – Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them. Noroviruses are highly resistant, and can survive quick steaming processes and temperatures as high as 140 degrees F.
• Clean surfaces and wash laundry – Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces with a chlorine bleach solution or other disinfectant. Machine wash contaminated clothes or linens in warm or hot water.
• Don't prepare food for others when sick – Do not prepare food or attend to the health needs of others while you are sick, and for at least two to three days after you recover.
Noroviruses are the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States, and contribute to about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year. Many may know it as the "stomach flu" or "food poisoning," but it is not related to the influenza virus and there is no vaccine to protect against the spread of the virus.

Source: www.Concentra.com.

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3 Simple Steps to Improve Your Fuel-Efficiency

March 1, 2013 2:46 am

Need to save on gas or increase your fuel efficiency? Drivers are encouraged to continue following these three simple steps to improve their fuel efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint.

Practicing EcoDriving produces the highest mileage from every single vehicle—regardless of size or age--and can reduce gas use and carbon emissions significantly by as much as 15 percent or more. Here are three easy EcoDriving tips that can help many consumers start driving green:

1. Turn the engine off when waiting at a curb to save more than half a gallon of fuel for every hour that would have been spent idling.

2. Tire pressure changes an average of one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit change in temperature, so maintaining proper tire pressure can improve gas mileage by about three percent. This can earn drivers a free tank of gas every year.

3. Avoid rapid starts and stops. This is not only safe, but it can save more than $1 per gallon, according to the U.S. EPA, while improving fuel economy by up to 33 percent.

Even when gas prices rise, green driving can always lessen the impact.

Source: EcoDrivingUSA

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Bacon - The Next Health Craze?

March 1, 2013 2:46 am

Bacon has always been popular, but now it’s the standard by which many express affection with the ubiquitous online meme: I love you more than bacon.

It’s considered by many to be the ultimate food indulgence, but according to Dr. John Salerno, a protégé of “Atkins Diet” creator Dr. Robert Atkins, bacon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

“Many think of bacon as one of the guiltiest pleasures possible, but it has also been shown to alleviate the effects of diabetes, heart disease and strokes,” says Dr. Salerno, author of “The Silver Cloud Diet.” “Nitrate-free bacon is an excellent source of high protein, low-carbohydrate energy that helps to reset the metabolism, and it’s filled with amino acids delivered without the risk of dangerous levels of mercury, which can be found in many fish.”

Need more reasons to love bacon?

• It has a 4:1 ratio of protein to fat.
• It contains choline, which boosts memory and healthy brain function.
• It’s composed of monounsaturated fats, the kind that contains lots of healthy fat-soluble vitamins and minerals.
• It’s a potent source of oleic acid and saturated fats, which help reduce levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), lower triglycerides, and raise HDL – commonly referred to as the good form of cholesterol.
Dr. Salerno says there are other indulgent-yet-healthy foods out there, including:

Butter: Butter contains the highest amount of butyric acid found in a natural food source. Butyric acid is recognized for its roles in cellular health, antioxidant protection and metabolic properties; it also increases energy and may prevent cancer. Butter derived from natural, grass-fed animals is recommended.

Barbecue: Add sauces and condiments and this American favorite will have more starch and sugar than Salerno recommends. But the main ingredient – meat – speaks to the heart of a low-carb, high-protein diet. Grass-fed hamburger meat and organic, hormone-free chicken provides the nutrients your body needs. Stay away from the buns, sugary condiments, sauces and marinades, and you can enjoy a healthy barbecue.

• Omelets: Eggs contain lots of cholesterol and saturated fats, which have been demonized throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Fortunately, we know there is such a thing as good cholesterol and fat. Packed with vitamins, minerals and one of the best-absorbed proteins we can feed our body, any negatives associated with eggs are far outweighed by the benefits. Natural, unprocessed cheeses and cream add to the nutritional value of an omelet.

• Chocolate ice cream: Ice cream made with organic egg yolks, heavy cream and a small amount of stevia herb for taste, instead of sugar, is actually a healthy dessert. Fats are fine, with the exception of trans fats, so long as dieters control their carbohydrate intake. Humankind did not evolve with the vast amount of foods today that contain complex carbs and hidden sugar. Our bodies are used to high amounts of natural fat and a limited amount of unprocessed carbs.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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FHA Plays Vital Role for American Homeowners

March 1, 2013 2:46 am

Since the private mortgage market collapsed, the Federal Housing Administration has played a critical role by helping make mortgage insurance available to millions of qualified home buyers. That is exactly the way Congress designed the mortgage insurance fund to operate when it was established 80 years ago.

NAR President Gary Thomas testified before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee that without the FHA, the housing downturn and economic recession would have been far worse for the nation.

"FHA helped fill the void over the past five years after private lending fled the market by providing safe, affordable access to mortgage credit to millions of Americans who wanted to purchase a home," said Thomas. "Had FHA not stepped in to fill the market gap, many families would have been unable to purchase homes, current homeowners would have experienced far greater drops in equity and their home's value, and our nation's economy would be much further from a recovery."

Thomas said FHA has always safely provided access to mortgage financing; it has never offered risky mortgage products, used predatory lending practices or engaged in exotic underwriting. However, like other holders of mortgage risk, FHA incurred great financial losses as a result of overall market conditions that led to increased foreclosures.

Thomas said that NAR is confident that FHA has already taken many of the necessary steps to help stabilize the fund as well as numerous administrative changes to mitigate risk. Those changes include five increases to mortgage insurance premiums since 2009, hiring a credit risk officer, implementing credit score floors, requiring higher down payments for borrowers with lower credit scores, and adopting a series of measures to increase lender responsibility and enforcement, he said.

"FHA currently has one of the strongest books on record and the quality of borrowers has skyrocketed; continued market improvements and rising home prices will also help improve the fund's future financial condition," said Thomas.

Thomas said NAR welcomes a time when FHA's market share is reduced to its more traditional levels of 10 to 15 percent of the market, and the private lending market is once again robust, but we are not there yet. Uncertainty about pending financial regulations and the future of the secondary mortgage market are keeping private lenders from returning to mortgage markets.

"Once the rules for mortgage finance are resolved and housing prices stabilize nationwide, we anticipate that private investors will return to the market and FHA's market share will return to more traditional levels," he said.

Thomas cautioned about making arbitrary changes to FHA, such as further increasing costs to consumers or limiting the use of the program to certain types of buyers, only for the sake of luring back private markets. While NAR supports changes that are vital to the solvency and strength of the FHA fund, actions to deliberately lower FHA's market share could disrupt the availability and affordability of mortgage credit and undermine the fragile real estate recovery.

"FHA continues to play a significant role in the housing market and recovery. We applaud them for their leadership and strength during the housing crisis, and for continuing to serve the needs of hardworking American families who wish to purchase a home," said Thomas.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Good Broadband a Factor for Nearly a Third When Choosing a Home

February 28, 2013 2:46 am

Access to a good broadband signal is an important factor when choosing to buy a home. Nearly one third (30 percent) of people surveyed said it is likely to affect their thinking on whether to buy a home in a particular area. And one fifth (20 percent) say they would be prepared to pay more for the same home if it had good broadband.

Paying a premium for broadband

Of those who would consider paying more for good broadband, 67 percent would pay up to 3 percent more for a property with a good broadband signal and 22 percent would pay between 4-10 percent more.
Younger people are more likely to say that a good broadband signal may affect their decision, with 40 percent of 18-24 year olds compared to 24 percent of those aged 65 and over. And there is also a clear split along gender lines, with men (34 percent) more likely to say it is likely to affect their decision than women (26 percent).

A strong broadband connection is an increasingly important factor when choosing where to live. We are living in the digital age and, as such, more people are choosing to work from home. As a result we find people are increasingly prepared to pay a premium for homes with a good broadband signal, and this is likely to remain a factor when choosing where to live.

Source: Halifax

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