RE/MAX 440
Mary Mastroeni
mmastroeni@remax.net
Mary Mastroeni
731 W Skippack Pike
Blue Bell  PA 19422
PH: 610-277-2900
O: 215-643-3200
C: 610-213-4878
F: 267-354-6212 
Welcome Home from RE/MAX 440!

Mary's Blog

Q: What happens at a trustee sale?

July 2, 2012 5:18 pm

A: When a homeowner falls behind on three payments, the bank will record a notice of default against the property. When the owner fails to pay up, a trustee sale is held, and the property is sold to the highest bidder. The lender that initiated the foreclosure proceedings will usually set the bid price at the loan amount. Successful bidders receive a trustee's deed as proof of ownership.

Trustee sales are advertised in advance and require all-cash bids, which can include cashiers’ checks. Normally, a sheriff, constable, or lawyer conducts the sale and acts as the trustee. Because these sales typically attract savvy investors, inexperienced buyers should come extremely prepared.

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How To Reduce Your Wildfire Risk

July 2, 2012 5:18 pm

Few homeowners prepare for a wildfire or take steps to reduce wildfire risk unless one is threatening their home. However, the fires raging in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico, along with the dry, drought-like conditions across the country should have every homeowner taking steps to reduce wildfire risk.
Homeowners reduce wildfire hazards by taking a few simple steps that can make a big difference if a wildfire threatens your community.

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), homeowners should remove potential fuel sources and create a defensible zone around a home which will dramatically reduce wildfire hazards. This may help slow flames or help direct the flames away from your home during a wildfire. Homeowners should also consider doing the following within 30 feet of their houses to reduce wildfire risk:
• Eliminate fuel sources like dry landscaping, woodpiles and decks.
• Prune trees and shrubs.
• Trim taller trees so lowest branch is no less than six feet from the ground.
• Remove dead leaves and branches from the yard.
• Clear branches from around the roof and chimney.
• Mow lawn regularly and dispose cuttings and debris promptly.
• Clear roof, gutters and eaves of debris.
• Maintain your irrigation system.
• Move firewood and storage tanks at least 50 feet away from the home.
• Store flammable liquids properly.

Source: Allstate.com

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Tips on Summer Travel with Your Dog

July 2, 2012 5:18 pm

While traveling is exciting, it can also be stressful. Additionally, this stress can be intensified if you’re traveling with your four-legged family member. If you're traveling with your dog this summer, these tips will help keep your canine buddy in tip top travel-ready form.

People used to think travel with dogs was no different than any other travel time. Years ago, no one thought twice about letting toddlers ride loose in a car going 70 mph down the highway. Parents today cringe at such reckless disregard for child safety, and today's doggie moms and dads also need to worry about how to travel with pets safely.

James Nelligan, star of reality TV show Animal Movers and owner of Pacific Pet Transport--which ships thousands of animals around the world--encourages you to keep these tips in mind when traveling with your dog:

  • It's not safe for your dog to sit on your lap while you drive. Many road fatalities have occurred this way.
  • When you take a break, take your dog out to stretch his/her legs too.
  • Make sure your dog gets plenty of water. Hydration is key to healthy travel.
  • Put your dog on a leash when taking a break – it will keep your buddy safe and protect everyone from unpredictable circumstances.
  • If using a travel crate, make sure the crate has enough ventilation.
  • When traveling over 40 mph, don't let your dog stick its head out the window. Nelligan recommends dog goggles to protect your dog's head and eyes from flying objects.
  • Exercise your dog before you travel to make them more relaxed during the trip.
  • Check the laws in your state about traveling with your dog. New Jersey law, for example, states that all dogs must be harnessed or crated when traveling by car.
  • Consider micro-chipping and have an ID tag on your dog's collar – better safe than sorry should you get separated!

Source: http://animalmovers.tv


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Word of the Day

July 2, 2012 5:18 pm

Loan-to-value ratio. Relationship of a mortgage loan to the appraised value of a piece of property. Usually expressed to the buyer in terms of how much the lender will lend, i.e. – 75 percent financing.

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Q: What are the disadvantages of buying foreclosures?

July 2, 2012 5:18 pm

A: Buying directly at a legal foreclosure sale is risky. Among the disadvantages:
• There is no financing. You need cash and lots of it.
• The title needs to be checked before the purchase. If not, you risk assuming a seriously deficient title.
• It may not be possible to inspect the property’s interior before the sale. So you have no idea of the property’s condition.
• Foreclosures are routinely purchased “as is,” which means you cannot go back to the seller for repairs.
• Also, estate and foreclosure sales are the only property sales that are exempt from some state disclosure laws. In both instances, the law protects the seller – usually the heir or financial institution – who has recently acquired the property through adverse circumstances and may have little or no direct information about it.

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Top 6 Tips for Visiting the London 2012 Olympics

June 29, 2012 5:14 pm

Planning a trip to the London 2012 Olympics? Lucky you. Below are tips from Alan Noone, head concierge of five-star luxury hotel The Berkeley, on how you can ensure your stay in London this summer a great one.

1. Plan ahead—for everything.

It's not just your flight and event-specific tickets you should buy in advance. Book everything— from lodging to theater tickets—now. "August is normally a quiet month for us," says Noone. "This year, we've seen a 30 percent increase in demand for rooms."

2. Consider events outside of Olympic Park.

To avoid the expected congestion at Olympic Park, Noone suggests attending events happening at other venues. "The archery events are being held at Lord's Cricket Ground, which has been hosting sporting events since 1814," he says. The Tube will drop you off 10 minutes' walk from the venue; consider walking the Jubilee Greenway, which passes by several other Games venues.

Tennis, of course, is being hosted at Wimbledon in southwest London. Or check out beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade, a venue in Central London dating back to 1745.

3. Take a river bus!

River taxis offer a great way to get to your Olympics venue, since several are accessible by river, including Greenwich Park (equestrian and modern pentathlon), North Greenwich Arena (basketball, artistic gymnastics and trampoline), The Royal Artillery Barracks (shooting), Horse Guards Parade (beach volleyball) and Eton Dorney (canoe sprint and rowing).

"I would suggest booking a place on Water Chariots' Silver Service, which takes just 40 minutes from Limehouse Marina to an exclusive Olympic entrance at Old Ford Locsk," Noone recommends. "You'll be able to enjoy a glass of champagne in the quayside reception lounges before you board. Then you can relax as you cruise past the sights, taking in an unrivalled view as you approach the Olympic Park!"

4. Attend non-sporting events.

London is hosting a huge selection of events, from the production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at The Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, to the Tate Modern presentation of the first major Damien Hirst exhibition in the UK.

"The Royal Albert Hall is presenting the world-famous BBC Proms annual classical music festival," Noone says. "And guests with families will love the Warner Brothers' studio tour of 'The Making of Harry Potter,' which has been really popular all year."

But if you're Olympics-bound, don't forget the basics:

5. Don't plan to drive anywhere. We're not kidding.

According to Noone, "the main thing to bear in mind is that the London Olympics aim to be the 'greenest' Games yet." That's his polite way of saying public transportation will be about the only way to get to events. And possibly the best: a high-speed Olympic Javelin train will whisk ticket holders from St. Pancras International station to Stratford International in just 7 minutes.

Your concierge can make taking the train or Tube relatively stress-free. "We can provide guests with tickets for the Javelin train or passes for the Tube," Noone says.  "We can even drop you off at the station in a chauffeur-driving luxury automobile."

 "Driving from Central London to Olympic Park could take you up to 2 hours," says Noone. "Our chauffeur service could drop you off at the Western Gate, but you would still have to walk nearly a mile to the stadium."

That's partially because of the Olympic Route Network (ORN), which connects all Games venues.  One-third of ORN roads are designated "Games Lanes" restricted to the IOC's fleet of 1,500 coaches and 4,000 specially-marked BMWs, for athletes and members of the "Olympic Family."

7. Allow plenty of time to get to your event.

"You should plan to arrive at your event well in advance of its start time, maybe even one to two hours ahead" counsels Noone. "Expect to encounter airport-like security."

There's absolutely no parking at any of the venues, except for  limited spaces that must be booked in advance.

If all of this sounds like a challenge, don't worry. An experienced concierge like Noone will work with you to take care of the details, so you can enjoy yourself without worrying about logistics. After all, if Noone can arrange for a live snake to be delivered to a guest for a wedding proposal (seriously!), he can probably make your London 2012 Olympics stay one you'll never forget.

Source: XOjet.com


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Keep Cool during Sultry Days while Spending Less on Energy

June 29, 2012 5:14 pm

Sweltering hot days make it harder to keep your home cool, straining air conditioning systems and energy budgets. Below are some simple tips to boost comfort and save on electric bills during the sultriest of days:

• Change or clean your air conditioner (AC) filter monthly during the cooling season.
• Ensure air can move freely around the AC unit coils. Remove surrounding leaves and plant overgrowth.
• Use ceiling and oscillating fans. Moving air makes the temperature feel cooler and allows for a higher thermostat setting while maintaining comfort. For each 1-degree increase in the thermostat setting, cooling costs can be lowered by about 3 percent.
• Avoid unnecessary trips in and out of the house, which let in hot air.
• Turn off lights, televisions, and computers when not in use.
• Close drapes and shades during the day.
• Plan to do hot work -- laundry and cooking -- during cooler morning and evening hours.
• Keep your kitchen cooler by cooking with a microwave or grilling outdoors.
• Make sure heat-producing appliances like televisions and lamps are away from the thermostat. They increase the temperature near the thermostat and cause the AC to run more than needed.
"There are several low-cost measures that can yield big energy savings," says EEC Executive Director Molly Hall. "Replace traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Incandescent bulbs waste 95 percent of their energy in heat; CFLs burn cooler, use only a fourth of the energy, and come in many styles and color temperatures."
Other low-cost suggestions include:
• Install a programmable thermostat. Leave it on a higher temperature while away, and set it to cool the house 30 minutes before returning home.
• Seal air leaks. Weather stripping and caulking are inexpensive ways to improve efficiency and cut energy costs.
• Ventilate the attic, and check insulation. If you can see the ceiling joists in your attic, consider adding insulation.

Increased electric demands can also place a severe strain on your home's electrical system -- a dangerous shock and fire hazard. Frequent circuit breaker trips or flickering lights, TV screens, or computer monitors are signs of an overloaded electrical system or faulty wiring that should be checked immediately by a professional.

Source: http://www.EnergyEdCouncil.org

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July Is National Block Party Month

June 29, 2012 5:14 pm

July has been named "Block Party Month.” Gear up for your party with the following easy tips.

"Block parties are all about connecting or reconnecting with people who have a lot in common with each other, starting with where they live," says Kate Altenhofen, Marketing Manager, Huhtamaki, makers of CHINET. "With these tips, we're hoping to make block party planning easier, while also inspiring new block party traditions this year."

Tips for Planning a Block Party – One or Two Months Out

• Form a small committee - four or five people - and create task assignments
• Check with community officials such as the local police department regarding any necessary permits and to secure a date for the block party (or choose to host off-street)
• Formulate a budget based on itemized expenses (including everything from big things like a moon bounce to little things like water balloons)
• Distribute invitations door-to-door in advance of the party; invite members of your block and also extend the invitation to neighboring businesses
• Coordinate with neighbors to see who can bring grills, tables, and other supplies.
• Suggest that people from even-numbered addresses bring side dishes and odd-numbered bring desserts; encourage one-time use containers to avoid the confusion of returning dishes after the party
• Plan for a variety of activities to encourage participation and mingling; this includes games for kids (face painting, sidewalk chalk, moon bounce).

Tips for Planning a Block Party - Day Of
• Set up long tables for family-style dining
• Set up cans for disposal and recycling as well as a composting can for items such as leftover food
• Consider including a 50/50 raffle to help fund next year's block party (winner receives half of the pot, block party fund keeps the other half)

Source: www.mychinet.com.

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Word of the Day

June 29, 2012 5:14 pm

Listing.  Contract used for hiring a real estate agent to sell a piece of property.  Also a piece of property that is for sale.


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Q: What Causes a Foreclosure?

June 29, 2012 5:14 pm

A: A lender decides to foreclosure, or repossess, a property when the owner fails to pay the mortgage. Unfortunately, thousands of homes end up in foreclosure every year.

Many people lose their homes due to job loss, credit problems, divorce, unexpected expenses, and during periods of economic instability.

Failure to pay property taxes may also cause a homeowner to lose his home. Trouble can also arise when owners neglect to pay local water bills and home insurance premiums.

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