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 B. Hayes

My Blog

The Wrong Sun Hat Can Leave Heads Fit to Be Fried

July 26, 2012 6:46 am

Every head needs sun protection. In fact, the simple act of wearing a hat can dramatically reduce the chances of skin cancer and premature aging by shading the face, scalp, ears and neck. These areas are also a common place for skin cancer to occur.

For those who have the desire for sun protection but just cannot find a hat that fits, here are four tips to help when making a selection:

• Protect the scalp by selecting a hat, not a visor, that will cover the entire head. The scalp is susceptible to sun damage; especially a bald head or thinning hair. If a sun visor is worn, pull the hair back so that the scalp is not showing.
• Start by choosing a comfortable hat with a brim of at least three inches. Rule of thumb: the bigger the brim, the better the protection. Also, a brim that is angled downward will provide even more hours of sun protection.
• Do not rely on a baseball cap to protect against dangerous UV (ultraviolet) rays. A baseball cap shades your forehead and a small portion of the face, but the small brim leaves the neck, ears and most of the face exposed.
• A hat that is made from tightly woven fabrics, such as canvas, offers the best protection. In contrast, the holes in a straw hat will allow UV rays to come through and any protection may be minimal. Regarding color choice, go darker. Darker colors tend to offer better protection by absorbing UV rays. Hats that come with a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) tag have been rated and the tag will state the degree of sun protection the hat provides.

Be mindful of the power of the sun. One good habit to get into is to avoid excessive UVB exposure between the peak hours of 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. and seek shade when possible.

No one product will give complete protection. For maximum protection, combine a wide-brimmed sun hat with sunscreen and sunglasses. Also, cover up exposed skin by wearing UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing. This is clothing that has been certified to protect against UV rays. This is accomplished through a tight fabric weave or a sun protection additive.


Published with permission from RISMedia.


When Traveling, Don't Leave Home without These Top Gluten-Free Items

July 25, 2012 6:46 am

Savvy gluten-free travelers always carry crackers, dried fruit, and nuts in case gluten-free food isn’t available, but Carol Fenster, an expert in gluten-free living and author of “Gluten-Free 101,” carries additional items to make sure she has safe food while en route and at her destination.

Fenster, whose travels have taken her around the world, despite her gluten-free lifestyle, selects these items so that they pass airport-security screenings, are non-perishable, and are substantial enough to make a light meal, if necessary. “There’s nothing worse than being away from home and hungry,” says Fenster. “Whether traveling for business or pleasure, with these items in a purse or carry-on, gluten-free travelers are always prepared for airport delays, long plane rides, or destinations that lack gluten-free options.”

Nut Butters
Bring individual-serving packets of nut butters. Tear one end open and squeeze the packet to distribute the nut butter on apples, carrots, or gluten-free crackers with no need for a knife.

Beef Jerky
Fenster chooses gluten-free versions and carries a few sticks in a plastic, resealable bag. Chewy, filling, yet non-perishable, they can make a small, but high-protein meal.

Never forget a few individual-serving packets of gluten-free rolled oats, in plain or flavored versions. Pour into a paper cup designed for hot beverages, add hot water, and let stand (covered) for a few minutes to reconstitute the oats. Some airport concessions serve ready-to-reconstitute paper cups of oatmeal, but Fenster cautions that these may not be made with gluten-free oats.

Whether home-made or store-bought, granola can be eaten as trail mix (just add nuts and candy bits), as a breakfast cereal, or sprinkled on yogurt. Always verify that it is made with gluten-free oats. Carry a small bag to eat en route, with additional bags in your suitcase to eat throughout the trip.

Packing a couple of gluten-free bread slices into a child’s sandwich box can also be handy. The rigid sides protect the bread from being crushed as well as keep it fresh longer. The bread can be toasted, used in sandwiches, or eaten with nut butter. If possible, buy a loaf of gluten-free bread at your final destination and keep a couple of slices on you at all times.

Fenster, the author of ten gluten-free cookbooks, says that these foods may be purchased in natural food stores as well as some supermarkets.

“Travel can be safe and enjoyable when gluten-free travelers are prepared with safe food that transports well, especially for those times when food choices are limited,” says Fenster.

Source: Carol Fenster, author

Published with permission from RISMedia.


iPhone 5 Users Will Have to Take Care to Avoid Water Damage

July 25, 2012 6:46 am

Reports suggesting that the up-and-coming iPhone 5 will be waterproof are probably wide of the mark, following recent revelations about a patent Apple has secured that allows the company to detect water damage in its gadgets.

According to, the new patent could actually be bad news for Apple fans. The new patent – 8,210,032 – is not some kind of revolutionary new water-proofing measure, but rather a new innovation that allows Apple technicians to determine if one of its products was damaged due to being submerged in water, reports

Dan Lim, editor of, explained what the new patent will likely mean to consumers:
“There have been claims that the iPhone 5 will be water proof. We believe that this is unlikely to be the case, as the new patent just secured by Apple has nothing to do with this.

“The patent has actually been designed to help Apple assess the reasons behind the malfunctioning of any of its products. Water exposure is one of the main reasons that its devices malfunction, hence verification of this is important for purposes such as assessing warranty claims.” explained that the new water-detection mechanism involves using materials that react permanently when exposed to water. These materials will be incorporated inside all new Apple devices, giving inspectors a visual indicator of water damage to any product.

The patent states that the water detection device will be easily accessible to technicians. This is important because up until now, Apple has had no easy way of disputing consumer claims that their broken devices have not been exposed to water – something that the iPhone warranties do not cover. If, as expected, the iPhone 5 turns out not to be waterproof, consumers should take extra special care to ensure that their device does not become exposed to water.


Published with permission from RISMedia.


Three Stages to Get Out of Debt

July 25, 2012 6:46 am

As unemployment starts to decrease and residential construction increases, people throughout the U.S. are breathing a collective sigh of relief. But for many, the road to economic recovery is still an intangible destination, blocked by a mountain of debt that has accumulated over the last several years. Many consumers are faced with this mountain of bills and are uncertain if they will ever get back on financially solid ground.

Thankfully, there are some steps that you can take to help get yourself back in the black. The steps you take can change depending upon your situation, so here are a couple of common scenarios to help you determine where to start:

1. Building a Better Budget
When creating a budget, you’re essentially creating a snapshot of your income and expenses with the goal of having more income than expenses each month. In order for a budget to be successful, you’ll want to take into account all sources of income as well as every expense – even if they come at just a quarterly or annual interval.

One way to get a handle on your expenses is to collect all of your receipts and bills over the month. If you have seasonal expenses (like vacations, back-to-school shopping, presents and taxes), you’ll want to remember to include those in your budget, too. Now you’ll be equipped to brainstorm ways to cut back on your spending. If transportation has gotten expensive, look into carpooling with a work buddy or take public transportation. If you’ve started spending a lot at restaurants, it’s time to cultivate your cooking skills. Create a plan that will shave off enough charges that you’ll have enough left over each month to start building your emergency savings and paying down your existing debt.

2. You Can’t Pay Your Bills
If you find yourself having to choose between two bills at the end of the month, there are a couple of exercises you can complete to help decrease the stress.

There are a couple of different things to keep in mind when prioritizing – protecting your assets (savings accounts and personal property), protecting your wages and protecting your essential services (think medical and utilities). After covering the priorities, you’ll then be able to focus on credit cards and other unsecured debts.

Be up front with your creditors if you won’t be able to make your payments. Many will work with you to create a modified payment plan that will keep you paying down your debt without overwhelming your budget. Taking a proactive approach will often garner much better results than waiting for a collector to call.

Before you contact your creditors, take some time to review your rights, as outlined by The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Act outlines when and how a debt collector may contact you to help prevent harassment. Keep in mind that while creditors have limitations on their communications, this does not cancel your debt.

3. When You Just Can’t Do It Yourself
Below is a breakdown of credit counseling and two of the tactics they may present to you:

• Credit Counseling. These services will often sit down with you to review your budget and your existing creditors. They will then contact your creditors on your behalf to negotiate payment plans. You’ll want to research the credit counseling agency before you agree to service; some have hidden fees and poor reputations.

• Debt Management Plans (DMPs). These plans allow you to make a deposit each month with your credit counseling agency so they can make payments on your behalf. This allows them to prioritize your debts. Before agreeing to a DMP, you’ll want to ensure that they are handling the debts in a manner that’s been agreed upon with your various creditors; otherwise, an account may go unpaid and be sent to collections.

• Debt Settlement Programs. Sometimes credit counselors will want to work with your creditors to negotiate a lesser payment to settle the debt. Depending upon how this is handled, it could be notated on your credit report and negatively affect your credit score.

If you do decide to seek out the help of a professional, the FTC recommends you start your search with the following sources: credit unions, military bases, housing authorities and branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service. These institutions are typically consumer friendly and trustworthy.


Published with permission from RISMedia.


Make the Most of Family Time and Have Some Fun This Summer

July 24, 2012 6:44 am

In today's hurry-up world, many families are looking for ways to slow down a little and spend some quality time together, just having fun. The good news is that it doesn't have to cost a lot of money, and you don't have to go very far to have a great time.

Here are some ways your family can make the most of family time and have some serious fun.

Become day trippers. Feel like getting out of town, but don't want to go far? Try a family day trip.
-State parks - You can go on a hike or bike ride, have a picnic and enjoy the great outdoors on your own, or participate in events such as fishing tournaments, wildlife education, moonlight walks or star gazing talks.
-Nearby cities - Play tourist in a city that's close by, but you haven't been to before. Check out the local shops, museums, parks and restaurants - you may be surprised at how much there is to do. Be sure to ask any friends who have been to the area for suggestions regarding what to do with the family.

Have some homegrown fun. You don't have to go to one of the big theme parks in another state to have a great time.
-Carnivals and street fairs - Get in on some old-fashioned fun and make the most of these hometown celebrations. The kids will get a kick out of it - and you may feel like a kid again yourself.
-Local museums - Art, history, science, kid-themed and quirky - there are all kinds of museums just waiting to be explored. Keep an eye out for special exhibits and family events. Many museums have free days and no- or low-cost activities and classes you can all do together.
-Free movie screenings and concerts - Some parks and rec departments and shopping centers have family movie and music events. Take a picnic dinner, go early and enjoy some free family fun.
- Backyard camping - Pitch a tent or two and spend the night under the stars. Grill dinner, or make s'mores over the fire pit, and "rough it" together without ever leaving home.
-Geocaching - If you've always wanted to go on a treasure hunt, geocaching just might be for you. Geocaching involves using a GPS-enabled device and clues to navigate to a specific set of coordinates in order to locate hidden containers. Search online for geocaching near you.

Help your community. Serving together is a fun way to grow closer to each other and make a difference where you live.
-Charity events - Sign up to help with or participate in a charity race. From planning and organizing, to checking people in, setting up water stations and actually racing, there are plenty of ways you can help make a fundraising event a success.
-Urban and community gardens - Sowing, watering, weeding and harvesting - there's always something that needs to be done in a community garden. Even the littlest ones can have some fun doing something good for the community.
-Work days - Shelters, schools and churches often need a helping hand to keep their buildings clean and in good repair. Your family can pitch in to take care of the facilities that help so many people within the community.
-Make a difference in your neighborhood - and Bing have teamed up to inspire people to "do good" in their neighborhood by hosting various events across the country this summer. Visit to see if they'll be stopping by a neighborhood near you, or learn how you can participate online. Perfect for the teen in your life, these events don't require money, an adult, or a car to participate.

Be hometown foodies. Discover your inner "locovore" by exploring all the different ways to enjoy locally produced food.
-Farmers markets - From apples to zucchini, you can find just about any kind of fresh produce, as well as bread, honey, herbs and more. Take your time, try some samples and talk to the vendors about their goods. Bring home some fresh ingredients and experiment with new recipes.
-CSA - Community Supported Agriculture groups bring the local harvests to you. For a set fee, sometimes paid in full up front, sometimes paid weekly with pickup, you get a generous selection of whatever is in season. The options change each week, which means you get a tasty surprise.
-Restaurants - Try that new restaurant down the street, or the one you've driven by a few times but have never been to. It can be a culinary adventure and a great way to support the local economy.

A recent Bing survey found that:
-More than 90 percent of respondents are likely to seek the opinions or advice of friends and family as part of their decision-making process.
-More than 90 percent of respondents will even delay a decision in order to first get input from family and friends.
-More than 75 percent of respondents report they are likely to solicit opinions or advice from their online social networks - 44 percent get the most useful recommendations on travel and restaurants from Facebook and/or Twitter.

Source: Family Features

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Back to School - How Moms Really Feel

July 23, 2012 6:44 am

While kids may be the ones heading back to books and homework, moms may be the ones who experience the biggest transitional pain when the school year begins.

Plum District, the San Francisco-based group buying website aimed at mothers, recently surveyed its members to uncover how Moms feel and what they really want during back-to-school season. Among other things, the survey revealed that back to school is more emotionally tolling for Mom than the kids; she is the saddest family member when school starts and she feels some stress as she finds herself juggling even more activities and duties.

Among the findings:
  • Many Moms are Excited: 39 percent of Moms feel excited, yet another 26 percent feel relieved.
  • Moms are More Sad than Kids: 40 percent of Moms say they are the MOST sad family member, followed by the kids at 33 percent… and the dog at 21 percent.
  • Moms' Top Worries: The top reason Mom is worried about her kids going back to school is surprisingly not bullying (that's No. 2) - it's whether or not her kids have a good teacher.
  • Moms are Likely to Cry: 54 percent of Moms say they are likely to cry on the first day of school.
  • Moms Plan to Write a Special Note: 57 percent will likely tuck a hidden note into their kids' bags.
  • Moms’ top requests in this busy time:
  • House Help: Nearly half of Moms would like a housekeeper to help with all housework, 19 percent would like a chef, while just over 8 percent said they'd need a masseuse to help relieve stress.
  • Family Time: The best part of Mom's day during back to school is dinner, with over 37 percent responding they enjoy when the entire family is together.
"During back to school time, most of the focus is on the kids and getting them ready, but what many people don't think about is that it's a transition for Mom too!" says Megan Gardner, CEO of Plum District. "What didn't surprise us is that even during this busy time, they still value time spent with the whole family together, like dinner time."

Source: Plum District

Published with permission from RISMedia.


June Existing-Home Prices Rise Again, Sales Down with Constrained Supply

July 23, 2012 6:44 am

Existing-home prices continued to show gains but sales fell in June with tight supplies of affordable homes limiting first-time buyers, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 5.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.37 million in June from an upwardly revised 4.62 million in May, but are 4.5 percent higher than the 4.18 million-unit level in June 2011.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the bigger story is lower inventory and the recovery in home prices. "Despite the frictions related to obtaining mortgages, buyer interest remains solid. But inventory continues to shrink and that is limiting buying opportunities. This, in turn, is pushing up home prices in many markets," he explains. "The price improvement also results from fewer distressed homes in the sales mix."

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $189,400 in June, up 7.9 percent from a year ago. This marks four back-to-back monthly price increases from a year earlier, which last occurred in February to May of 2006. June's gain was the strongest since February 2006 when the median price rose 8.7 percent from a year prior.

Distressed homes - foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts - accounted for 25 percent of June sales (13 percent were foreclosures and 12 percent were short sales), unchanged from May but down from 30 percent in June 2011. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in June, while short sales were discounted 15 percent.

Total housing inventory at the end June fell another 3.2 percent to 2.39 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 6.6-month supply at the current sales pace, up from a 6.4-month supply in May. Listed inventory is 24.4 percent below a year ago when there was a 9.1-month supply.

First-time buyers accounted for 32 percent of purchasers in June, compared with 34 percent in May and 31 percent in June 2011. All-cash sales edged up to 29 percent of transactions in June from 28 percent in May; they were 29 percent in June 2011. Investors, who account for the bulk of cash sales, purchased 19 percent of homes in June, up from 17 percent in May; they were 19 percent in June 2011.

Source: The National Association of REALTORS®

Published with permission from RISMedia.


5 Great Tips for Buying a Home

July 23, 2012 6:44 am

With great opportunities abounding in the housing market and historically-low interest rates still intact, consumers can secure record-breaking values on a home purchase, according to New York-based real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey.

“Incredible deals are on the market and ready to be made, but only for those buyers who know how to seize them,” says Leitman Bailey, author of the New York Times best-selling book, “Finding The Uncommon Deal” (Jon Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2010). “You can buy your dream home at the price you want if you are just willing to take the necessary steps that will give you an uncommon advantage.”

To help buy a home at the best possible price, Bailey offers his top 5 home buying tips:
  • Do a Credit Check—On Yourself: Check your credit report long before you start shopping for a home, as it may take several months to resolve any mistakes or complications. Challenge negative remarks in your credit report, even if they are debatably true. Under federal law, if the company placing the negative remark on your report does not respond within 30 days, the remark must be removed.
  • Know Your Total Budget: Don’t Home Shop Without It: Your budget includes the total purchase price of your new home, moving costs and your total monthly and annual expenses. Don’t forget to include real estate and local taxes and the policies that affect potential changes in local taxes. Once you know your budget, call lenders to shop for a loan and also learn about the different products available to finance your home.
  • Visit the Neighborhood, Not Just the Home: Everyone and everything in town can potentially provide insight into your prospective neighborhood’s character. It’s always worth spending time and money in local coffee shops and restaurants, and participating in events and entertainment to learn more about the area. Read the community newspapers and supermarket bulletin board postings to gain further understanding of the neighborhood. Be sure to consider factors such as local community crime rates, access to medical facilities, religious venues, and any other considerations that are applicable to your personal preferences.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate: Ask the owners of your potential new home for the minimum price they would accept to close the deal. You may be pleasantly surprised by the answer and a deal may not be far off, especially if the property has been sitting on the market. Some items are easier to negotiate than others. If both sides are stuck on the purchase price, ask the seller to include furniture or cosmetic improvements at a certain price. For newly constructed condominiums, ask the seller to pay any taxes involved in the transfer.
  • Hire—and Accompany—the Inspector: Ask for referrals from people who have experienced a satisfactory home inspection or who are intimately involved in the home-buying or -selling process. Cross out waivers and any limitation of liability when signing a contract with an inspector or engineer. Your inspector should be held responsible for missing any major repair items during the inspection. Also, be sure to accompany the inspector on the site visit. You will learn about your potential new home and its structure, as well as important information about the lifespan of its systems and major components. Also, make sure your inspector or engineer checks the big ticket items, which can include the boiler, the roof, and the elevators, if applicable.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Baby Boomers Redefine Retirement with Adventure Activities

July 20, 2012 6:36 am

A new generation is redefining retirement by diving into high-energy activities and seeking new experiences – from motorcycle riding and hiking to kayaking and whitewater rafting.

According to adult-community builder, Del Webb, high-energy clubs and activity groups are gaining popularity across the nation, with health and fitness emerging as a top interest among both Del Webb residents and prospective homebuyers.

"Recreational interests among baby boomers are more diverse than ever before. Sure, golf and tennis are still popular, but now so are outdoor adventure activities like canoeing and kayaking, marathon running, rock climbing, off-roading and even sky diving," says Judy Julison, Del Webb's national director of lifestyle.

Expectations about age, vitality and quality of life continue to be redefined and emphasize the importance of physical activity, explains Julison. Advancements in health care and improved access to a wide variety of fitness and wellness oriented programs have contributed to promoting improved health and extending life expectancy. Boomers feel years younger than their chronological age and this typically is reflective of their active lifestyle.

According to the most recent Del Webb Baby Boomer survey, 80 percent of boomers indicated that they feel younger than their current age. More specifically, younger boomers, age 50, said they feel 10 years younger, boomers in their early 60s said they feel 13 years younger and Del Webb residents with a median age of 65 said they feel 15 years younger than their actual age.

"Baby boomers enjoy 'experiences,' rather than just 'activities.' They are also known to go to great lengths to resist the realities of aging," Julison says. "Our Del Webb residents are constantly seeking new, active and high-energy activities that can be incorporated into their everyday life, that also allow them to socialize and have fun. They are often motivated by a simple desire to try something new or to engage in an experience that challenges them physically and mentally."

Source: Del Webb

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Add Style to Your Home's Entryway

July 20, 2012 6:36 am

Nothing says “welcome to my home” quite like an impressive entryway. Attention to detail and some added extra touches of hospitality can transform an ordinary entry into a warm and inviting approach to the home.

Professional contractor Mark Clement recommends homeowners start with the basics. Evaluate the look and condition of the front door. Determine if the current door needs to be replaced or just enhanced with some decorative pediments, crossheads and pilasters.

“A front door should have good energy efficiency features, a snug fit to the frame and an appealing color,” says Clement, host of the home improvement radio show MyFixItUpLife. “If you’re missing any of those elements, then I would invest in a new front entryway.

“My recommendation is a secure fiberglass door that resists denting and scratching, is easy to maintain, energy efficient and quiet. And, don’t forget to select decorative or privacy glass for the doorlites and potentially your sidelites to really add appeal to the home’s entryway.”

For his own 100+ year old home, Clement recently tackled the job of installing a new fiberglass front door. Clement painted his door teal.

“We needed a ‘door-lift’ for the front of our house - much like a facelift for the home,” says Clement, whose website offers home improvement insights to consumers. “We started with the new energy-efficient door, then finished with durable PVC millwork on the exterior of the door and urethane trim around the door’s interior.

“For most entryways I recommend a set of pilasters that stand up next to both sides of your door and attach to the surface siding. Then, add a crosshead and pediment that can ‘sit’ on the top of the entryway. With dozens of decorative pediment designs to choose from, such as a sunburst, rams head or peaked cap, you can add your own personality to the entryway. These low-maintenance synthetic products are all key focal features that make an entranceway more appealing.”

Clement points out that urethane millwork products are long-lasting, since their surfaces are not subject to chipping and peeling as you’d find with many wood trim pieces. The synthetic pieces also resist humidity, warping and rotting, making them ideal for all climate conditions.

Source: Therma-Tru

Published with permission from RISMedia.