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

Time to Plant for Fall

August 5, 2011 5:01 pm

Now that most of summer’s produce is here, or well on its way, it’s time to start planning your garden for fall. Below are some hardy things to plant now for a full fall harvest.

1. Broccoli. Plant at the end of summer but well before the first frost, about 10 weeks.

2. Cauliflower. Plant in rich soil and be sure to water well.

3. Lettuce. Be sure to shade new seedlings from the afternoon sun.

4. Spinach. This hardy veggie lasts well into winter. Plant at least 5 weeks before first frost.

5. Cabbage. Not everyone is a cabbage fan, but this vegetable does well in cooler temps. Be sure to keep soil wet and the young plants shaded from too much sun.

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Is Not Just a Cold Weather Risk

August 5, 2011 5:01 pm

Back-to-back carbon monoxide incidents within one week of each other reaffirm what safety officials keep telling citizens: the risk of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning is not only a danger linked to cold weather and furnaces.

In both emergencies, faulty rental water heaters were the source of the deadly carbon monoxide gas.

Safety expert Carol Heller offers these CO summer safety tips:

1. Have all fuel-burning appliances inspected annually by a licensed professional. Boaters with watercrafts that have sleeping quarters, generators and/or inboard gas engines should also have annual inspections.
2. Replace carbon monoxide alarms every 7 years, per CSA certification. CO alarms from other manufacturers must be replaced every 5 years.
3. Replace batteries in CO alarms at least once annually
4. Consider purchasing CO alarms that have a digital display, which will alert you before harmful levels of the invisible gas are reached
5. Install CO alarms on watercraft that have sleeping quarters, generators and/or inboard gas engines. And remember, the boat moored next to you could also be a source of CO so stay safe in any marine situation.
6. If your CO alarm sounds, evacuate immediately and call 911.

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What Homeowners Need to Know about Summer Mold Danger

August 5, 2011 5:01 pm

It's summertime! The sun is shining, the weather is warm. Who's thinking about mold? American Leak Detection says that if homeowners are not thinking about mold, they should be. Summer's heat and humidity—especially when combined with an undetected or untreated leak—can set the stage for mold to flourish. 

"The best way to deal with indoor mold is to prevent it in the first place," says American Leak Detection President Bill Palmer. "That means you need to recognize the signs that you may have a leak, and locate and repair the leak promptly. Undetected leaks can allow mold to take hold, and that can create a health risk to you and your family and expensive damage to your home." 

Even without a leak, mold can flourish when summer's downpours and steamy weather cause heat and humidity to raise moisture levels in basements, crawl spaces, closets and other enclosed, dark places. Palmer advises that if homeowners notice any of the following seven symptoms of a plumbing leak, they should take action promptly: 

1. The continuous sound of water (like a toilet running) when nothing is turned on.
2. The water meter reading changes when no water is being used. (Mark the indicator on the meter; don't use any water for an hour; then check the meter. If the indicator moved, there may be a leak.)
3. The water bill escalates over a period of weeks or months. (Compare bills month to month.)
4. The walls or floors have wet, spongy, moist or discolored areas when nothing has been spilled.
5. Foul odors coming from floors or walls near drains or sewers.
6. Cracks in the building foundation, uneven vegetation growth, or the earth shifts for no apparent reason.
7. Warm spots on the floor, particularly on concrete slab floors. 

If any of these signs are present, and the homeowner is unable to quickly identify and repair the leak, it's time to call in a specialist, like the leak detection experts at American Leak Detection. Their trained technicians specialize in minimally invasive leak detection to identify not only the source of the leak, but also its origin, which is critical in limiting property damage during repairs. 

For more information visit http://www.americanleakdetection.com.

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Word of the Day

August 5, 2011 5:01 pm

Deficiency judgment. Judgment issued against a borrower when the sale of foreclosed property does not bring in enough to pay the balance owed on the mortgage.

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Question of the Day

August 5, 2011 5:01 pm

Q: What are co-ops?

A: Cooperative apartments – known as co-ops – are not really owned by people as real property. Instead, people own shares of stock in the company that owns the building in which they live. But for all practical purposes, the experts say owning a co-op is almost like owning real property. Personal loans to “buy” a co-op apartment are written almost like mortgages. And the IRS treats co-op owners much like real property owners. They can deduct interest paid on their apartment loans and on their portion of the municipal taxes and mortgage interest paid by the corporation.

Shareholders in a co-op are entitled to occupy specific units, use the common areas, and have a vote in the corporation. To maintain this right, they must pay a monthly fee that covers their share of operating expenses.

As for governance, a board of directors, which is elected from among the residents, runs the co-op. Under most bylaws, the board may evict any tenant/shareholder who fails to pay the monthly maintenance fee. Everyone is expected to abide by the rules, which may prohibit pets or even children under a certain age.


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Law Offers New Protection to Short Sale Homeowners

August 5, 2011 5:01 pm

A new law signed recently by California Governor Jerry Brown offers extended protection to state homeowners who are forced to short sell their homes.

SB 458 ensures that any lender who agrees to a short sale must accept the agreed-upon short sale payment as payment in full on the outstanding balance of all loans, including second mortgages.

The previous law, SB 931, enacted in 2010, held that a first mortgage holder must accept the agreed-upon short sale amount as full payment, but the law did not extend to junior lien holders.

“The signing of this bill is a victory for California homeowners who have been forced to short sell their home only to find that the lender could pursue them after the short sale closes, and demand additional payment to subsidize the difference,” says California Association of REALTORS® President Beth L. Peerce. “The new law brings closure and certainty to the short sale process and ensures that once a lender has agreed to accept a short sale payment on a property, all lienholders—those in first position as well as in junior positions – must consider the outstanding balance as paid in full, and the homeowner will not be held responsible for any additional payments on the property.”

An urgency clause in the new law makes SB 458 effective immediately upon signing.

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Stamped Concrete Design Ideas for Last Minute Summer Projects

August 5, 2011 5:01 pm

There’s no need to put off hardscaping projects for another year; get started this summer. More and more homeowners and business owners across the globe are turning to stamped concrete to create a concrete surface that is both functional and aesthetically appealing. The availability of patterns and designs have transformed the way consumers look at stamped concrete. 

Decorative stamped concrete has come a long way since it was first introduced in the market in the 1980’s. They’ve gone from cookie-cutter patterns to intricate replicas of natural stones, at a fraction of the cost and upkeep requirements. This application is great for transforming driveways, courtyards, patios, walkways and any other concrete surface. 

For more information on stamped patterns, and ideas on incorporating stamped concrete into last minute summer projects, visit http://www.StampedConcrete.org.

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Sun Safety Tips for Upcoming School Days and Sun Rays

August 5, 2011 5:01 pm

Sun protection doesn’t stop with the end of summer and SunGrubbies.com, an online retailer of sun protective products since 1997, would like to remind parents that it is important to give children a lesson in year-round sun protection. As children head back to school, they need to be protected against exposure to dangerous UV rays. Sun exposure can occur during recess, physical education classes, field trips and fall sport activities. And, it is important to remember that children are also exposed to UV rays as they walk to and from school. 

Sun protection has no season and while skin cancer in children is rare, many skin cancers take years to develop. UVB rays will lessen during the winter months, but harmful UVA rays will be in full force all year long. Sun protection products should be on the back-to-school supply list because one severe childhood sunburn doubles the chance of developing melanoma later in life. 

SunGrubbies.com offers these sun safety tips:
• Teach children to search out shaded areas for playtime activities. The sun’s rays are especially intense between 10 am and 2 pm.
• In the morning, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays to exposed skin. If the school permits, teach your children to reapply the sunscreen at school before they head outside for recess.
• Don’t rely only on sunscreen. Sun protective clothing and sun hats with broad brims offer much more protection.
• Have your children wear sunglasses when outside. Make sure they block 99 percent or more of UV radiation.
• Lead by example. Parents should be good role models and practice sun safety themselves.
It is important for children to be educated about the dangers of excessive sun exposure. Sunburn can be prevented and sun safety measures should become part of a daily regime. 

For more information, visit http://www.sungrubbies.com. 


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Question of the Day

August 5, 2011 5:01 pm

Q: What are the benefits of having a co-op?
A: In addition to being able to take advantage of tax deductions, the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC) says shareholders will find that co-ops have low turnover rates, lower real estate tax assessments, reduced maintenance costs, resident participation and control, and the ability to prevent absentee and investor ownership.

Also attractive: housing cooperatives come in all shapes, sizes, and types. They include townhouses, mid-and high-rise apartments, garden apartments, single-family homes, mobile home parks, artists’ cooperatives, and senior housing. 

For more information about co-ops contact NAHC at (202) 737-0797, or log on to www.coophousing.org.

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August Housekeeping Tips

August 4, 2011 8:01 pm

Keep your house fresh and cool through the hottest month of the year, and save a little money, with the following tips:

1. Line Dry. Take advantage of the warm weather and save energy by drying your clothes on a clothesline. Hanging clothes to dry can be a fun project with kids, and nothing beats sheets that smell like a summer breeze.

2. Collect Water. Watering plants and grass in the summer takes a ton of water. Make an eco-friendly move by placing rain buckets outside to collect water from a summer storm.

3. Make Shade. Your AC unit will have less work to do if you make your home cooler naturally. Smart landscaping—more trees, shrubs and vines—can shade your home from the outside. Additionally, retractable or removable awnings—attached to the outside of your windows—can have huge cooling benefits. Blinds and shades can do the trick as well, and of course, if financially feasible, an energy efficient roof (one with an Energy Star rating) can offset heat by reflecting light.

4. Limit electronics. You don’t realize it, but even small electronics generate heat, not to mention use power even when off. Unplug things like powerstrips, lamps, cell phone chargers and small appliances (toaster, blenders, etc.) when not in use to score cool and cost-friendly results.

5. Smart Cooking. When the temperatures are soaring, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven—which makes your AC work harder than necessary. Score some outdoor family fun by using your grill, and when you need to use the stovetop, keep pots and pans covered to retain heat.

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