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

Homeowners Back on the Remodeling Bandwagon

March 17, 2017 6:27 pm

From older homeowners to millennials buying more affordable homes that need some work, remodeling is making a comeback. According to the recent “Demographic Change and Remodeling Outlook” report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, the residential remodeling market, which includes spending on improvements and repairs by both homeowners and rental property owners, reached an all-time high of $340 billion in 2015 and is expected to increase 2 percent per year on average through 2025 after adjusting for inflation.

The baby boom generation has led home improvement spending for the past 20 years, and its influence shows no signs of waning. Older homeowners will continue to dominate the remodeling market as they make investments to age in place safely and comfortably. Expenditures by homeowners age 55 and over are expected to grow by nearly 33 percent by 2025, accounting for more than three-quarters of total gains over the decade. The share of market spending by homeowners age 55 and over is projected to reach 56 percent by 2025, up from only 31 percent in 2005.

Gen Xers are now in their prime remodeling years, and while some are still recovering from home equity losses after the housing crash, many in this generation will undertake discretionary projects deferred during the downturn. And as younger households move into homeownership, they will supplement the already thriving improvement market.

Additionally, as a new generation of homeowners enters the remodeling market, specialty niches focused on energy-efficiency, environmental sustainability, and healthy homes are likely to see significant growth. Home automation—encompassing everything from entertainment systems to home energy management, lighting, appliance control, and security—is also emerging as a strong growth market, particularly among younger households.

If you’re considering a remodeling project in your near future, keep in mind those renovations that recoup the most in value. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value Report, you will see the most return on investment from the following mid-range remodels:
  • Fiberglass attic insulation - 107.7 percent of cost recouped
  • Entry door replacement (steel) - 90.7 percent of cost recouped
  • Manufactured stone veneer - 89.4 percent of cost recouped
  • Minor kitchen remodel - 80.2 percent of cost recouped
  • Garage door replacement - 76.9 percent of cost recouped
For more information about today's remodeling market, contact me today.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Boomers Anxious About Housing Affordability

March 17, 2017 6:27 pm

The road to retirement is supposed to lead toward a more relaxed, enriched phase of life. But these days, it seems to be fraught with anxiety.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans aged 55+ from The NHP Foundation, a not-for-profit provider of affordable housing, 30 percent of Americans experience anxiety at least once a month about being able to afford where they live, with 42 percent of retirees reporting such anxiety at least once daily. The greatest anxiety comes from being able to afford “desirable retirement living.”

Sixty-four percent of boomer parents also experience anxiety over their adult children’s ability to afford their rent or mortgage, with 43 percent most concerned about the next generation’s ability to save for retirement.
 
If housing affordability is a concern for you or your loved ones, here are some tips from IMB Bank to ease the burden:
  • Consider becoming a “rentvestor”; purchase a home in a more affordable location as an investment and rent a smaller place for yourself in your ideal location.
  • Consider buying an apartment. Not only will this most likely be more affordable, it may allow you to live in the area you most desire.
  • Consider buying a home with another family member or close friend, or converting part of your existing home into rental space.
  • Consider a fixer-upper and plan to affordably space out remodeling projects over time. 
By rethinking your approach to housing, not only will you uncover ways to make your living situation more affordable, but you will also gain a much-needed level of peace of mind.
 
Contact me today for more tips to help ease the anxiety associated with housing affordability.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

5 Ways to Let Spring into Your Home

March 17, 2017 6:27 pm

No matter how mild or harsh your winter may have been, spring is a rite of passage that should be recognized throughout your home with elements of renewal. This will not only serve as a refresh for your living environment, but for your state of mind as well. Here are some simple yet highly effective ways to infuse spring throughout your home:
  1. Lighten up...literally. One of the best things about spring is the extension of daylight hours, so make sure to let all that extra light into your home. Trade in heavy drapes for sheer curtains and keep shades and blinds raised as often as possible. Survey your yard and trim back any trees and bushes that may be blocking the flow of light into your home.
  2. Bring spring growth indoors. Among the sweetest harbingers of spring are buds, bulbs and new green growth. Capture this inspiration indoors by forcing bulbs in a decorative pot or collecting forsythia branches in a vase to force their famous yellow blooms indoors. Cut forsythia stalks at an angle once the weather has been above freezing for a few days, but before they bloom. Place them in water right away, and watch them work their magic.
  3. Play with color. Take some of your favorite spring colors—yellow, purple, bright green, soft pink—and add them to your home décor with throw pillows, table linens, towels and pillow shams. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, paint a wall, a set of shelves, or your cabinet doors in a spring shade.
  4. Fresh air. When the temperature permits, open your windows and let in that refreshing spring air. Even if it’s just for an hour during the warmest part of the day, the fresh air will help weed out winter mustiness and renew the air quality in your home.
  5. Spring scents. Cut or buy a bunch of lilacs or hyacinths and place them in vases around your home. Alternatively, light candles in spring-time scents to permeate your home with the scents of the season. 
For more ways to infuse spring into your home, contact me today.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

In this Edition: 5 Simple Ways to Refresh Your Living Environment This Spring

March 17, 2017 6:27 pm

Our lead story in this month’s Home Matters examines 5 simple ways to breathe a breath of fresh air into your home this spring. Other topics covered this month include tips for bringing in some extra money as you go through the downsizing process and how to choose the best shade of white to achieve the look and ambience you're striving for. We hope you enjoy this month’s edition of Home Matters and as always, we welcome your feedback. Email us anytime!

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Food Trends: What’s the Hype on Coconut Oil and Gluten-Free?

March 17, 2017 12:30 am

Nutritional guidance, like ready-to-wear, tends to go in and out of fashion. Eggs, once slammed for their high cholesterol, came back into dietary good graces in 2015 when a government report dropped its warning. More recently, gluten-free foods have been proliferating in supermarkets while coconut oil appears to be the new rage for chefs.

What’s going on here, and what’s a consumer to believe?

A report published this year by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology offers some clarity on which foods are the best choices for health-conscious individuals:

Fresh fruits and fresh veggies, especially berries and leafy greens, remain the number one source of nutrients and antioxidants, and are best eaten raw or cooked, rather than juiced.

Whole grains and legumes, low- and nonfat dairy products and limited quantities of lean meat and fish are also among the mainstays of a heart-healthy diet.

Eggs, like nuts, remain a good source of protein, but moderation is key. Eggs, which do contain a fair amount of dietary cholesterol. Should be limited to one or two a day while nuts, which are high in fat, should be limited to a handful.

Coconut oil, like palm oil and all other oils, including olive oil, should be consumed in moderation because they are high in fat, although olive oil is still recommended as the heart-healthiest of the bunch.

Gluten-free foods are valuable for people with celiac disease or other gluten sensitivities, but there is no evidence for recommending them for use by the general population.

Dietary supplements, for which there no compelling findings of cardiovascular benefits or antioxidants, are recognized as a costly substitute for their fresh food counterparts.

Sugar and processed foods are best avoided whenever possible.

The report concludes that following these dietary guidelines can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, although physical activity and family history are also factors in determining personal health.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

How to Prep Your Home for Floods

March 17, 2017 12:30 am

Floods in your home are often unexpected. Whether from immense rain or a busted pipe, there is often little time to act. With this in mind, it’s important to have a few things prepped in case of a sudden flood.

Here are a few tips from Puzio to help homeowners prepare before a flood occurrence:

Obtain a Flood Insurance Policy and Know Your Coverages - Find out if you have a flood insurance policy. If you don't have a flood insurance policy, contact your insurance agent today. Make sure you are clear on your coverage amount before a flood occurs.

Protect Important Documents - Keep copies of all important documents in a safe place outside the home if possible, including mortgage papers, passport, bank information and insurance policies.

Itemize and Take Photos of Property - Create an itemized list and take pictures of your home, property and possessions as proof of your pre-flood assets, and store them with your important documents offsite if possible.

Establish an Emergency Contact List - Create an emergency contact list with the phone numbers of your family, employers, insurance agents and financial information. Update and exchange contact information, and store your list with your important documents offsite.

Build or Buy an Emergency Kit - Keep an emergency kit on hand with a battery-powered radio, flashlight, batteries, candles, waterproof matches, bottled water and non-perishable food for a minimum of three days.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Top 25 Highest Paying Jobs of 2017

March 17, 2017 12:30 am

Are you the parent of a college student, or thinking of jumping into a new career yourself? While it’s important to follow a path you love, it doesn’t hurt to keep pay in mind. Below are Glassdoor’s 25 highest paying jobs in the country, alongside how many positions are currently available via Glassdoor.com.

1. Physician
Median Base Salary: $187,876
Number of Job Openings: 7,770

2. Pharmacy Manager
Median Base Salary: $149,064
Number of Job Openings: 2,370

3. Patent Attorney
Median Base Salary: $139,272
Number of Job Openings: 525

4. Medical Science Liaison
Median Base Salary: $132,842
Number of Job Openings: 391

5. Pharmacist
Median Base Salary: $125,847
Number of Job Openings: 5,496

6. Enterprise Architect
Median Base Salary: $112,560
Number of Job Openings: 1,320

7. Physician Assistant
Median Base Salary: $112,529
Number of Job Openings: 13,547

8. Applications Development Manager
Median Base Salary: $112,045
Number of Job Openings: 516

9. R&D Manager
Median Base Salary: $111,905
Number of Job Openings: 185

10. Corporate Controller
Median Base Salary: $110,855
Number of Job Openings: 259

11. Software Engineering Manager
Median Base Salary: $109,350
Number of Job Openings: 1,011

12. IT Architect
Median Base Salary: $105,303
Number of Job Openings: 250

13. Software Architect
Median Base Salary: $104,754
Number of Job Openings: 1,147

14. Nurse Practitioner
Median Base Salary: $104,144
Number of Job Openings: 12,566

15. Solutions Architect
Median Base Salary: $102,678
Number of Job Openings: 4,174

16. Data Architect
Median Base Salary: $102,091
Number of Job Openings: 1,438

17. Actuary
Median Base Salary: $99,507
Number of Job Openings: 463

18. IT Program Manager
Median Base Salary: $98,883
Number of Job Openings: 250

19. UX Manager
Median Base Salary: $98,353
Number of Job Openings: 263

20. Systems Architect
Median Base Salary: $97,873
Number of Job Openings: 1,167

21. Plant Manager
Median Base Salary: $97,189
Number of Job Openings: 1,286

22. Scrum Master
Median Base Salary: $95,167
Number of Job Openings: 2,072

23. Financial Planning & Analysis Manager
Median Base Salary: $94,862
Number of Job Openings: 501

24. Nuclear Engineer
Median Base Salary: $94,852
Number of Job Openings: 155

25. Attorney
Median Base Salary: $94,695
Number of Job Openings: 1,010

Source:  Glassdoor

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

When it Comes to Homeownership Decisions, Pets Rule

March 16, 2017 12:30 am

A lot goes into the decision to buy, sell or remodel a home. After all, this is one of the most significant investments of your lifetime, so there are a lot of factors to be weighed and considered...including how happy your pet will be.

Yes, you read that right. In fact, 81 percent of respondents to a recent report from the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), reported that animal-related considerations play a role in determining their next living situations. In 2016, 61 percent of U.S. households either have a pet or plan to get one in the future, so it stands to reason that our animal companions will play a significant role in our housing decisions for the foreseeable future.

According to NAR’s 2017 Animal House: Remodeling Impact report, 99 percent of pet owners said they consider their animal part of the family, and 89 percent of those surveyed said they would not give up their animal because of housing restrictions or limitations. In fact, 12 percent of pet owners have actually moved in order to accommodate their furry, finned or feathered family member, and 19 percent said they would consider moving to accommodate their animal in the future.   

No one knows the relationship between homeowners and their animal friends better than REALTORS. Those surveyed for the report said that one-third of their pet-owning clients often or very often will refuse to make an offer on a home because it is not ideal for their pet.

Other interesting statistics from the report include:

- 67 percent of REALTORS say animals have a moderate to major effect on selling a home. If you’re selling your home, make sure you’ve cleaned or replaced any areas affected by pet damage or odors.
- 52 percent of respondents said they had completed a home renovation project specifically to accommodate their pet, such as fencing in their yards, adding a doggie door or installing a pet-friendly laminate flooring.
- 80 percent of REALTORS consider themselves animal lovers, so you’ll have lots of support in accommodating your pet’s housing needs when buying!

Source: National Association of REALTORS

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

How to Help Friends and Family Members with Post-War PTSD

March 16, 2017 12:30 am

Helping a family or friend reintegrate into society after leaving war can be complicated, but when your loved one has PTSD, it can be even more intricate. To date, an estimated 400,000 service members live with invisible wounds of war, including combat stress, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to a report released by Institute of Medicine in 2014, 47 percent of veterans diagnosed with PTSD in 2013 after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan did not receive treatment. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) believes it is imperative to raise PTSD awareness and offer education in our communities.

"PTSD is a normal reaction to a very bad situation, and no one should be ashamed of suffering and seeking help," said John Roberts, WWP warrior relations director. "Combat veterans need to know that PTSD does not have to be a lifelong sentence. It can be treated and managed. Life can be better." 

Here are tips for helping warriors who are coping with PTSD:

- Let veterans determine what they are comfortable talking about, and don't push.

- Bring veterans to a quiet place or suggest some deep breathing exercises when the stress seems overwhelming.

- Encourage creative outlets like writing to help veterans clarify what is bothering them and help them think of solutions.

- Avoid unhealthy habits as ways to solve problems. Alcohol and drug use make things worse in the long run.

- Stay aware of your surroundings. Crowds, trash on the side of the road, fireworks, and certain smells can be difficult for veterans coping with PTSD.Source: Wounded Warrior Project

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Do You Live in One of America's Healthiest Cities?

March 15, 2017 12:30 am

Ever wonder where the healthiest spot in the US is? WalletHub’s latest Healthiest Cities in America analysts compared 150 of the largest U.S. cities across 34 key metrics. The data set ranges from “cost of doctor visit” to “fruit and vegetable consumption” to “fitness clubs per capita.”

Check out these key stats from the survey:

- Richmond, Va., has the most mental-health counselors per 100,000 residents, 221.5, which is 14.5 times more in San Antonio, the city with the fewest at 15.3.

- Overland Park, Kan., has the lowest share of adults with 14 or more physically unhealthy days reported in the past month, 7.1 percent, which is 2.7 times lower than in San Bernardino, Calif., the city with the highest at 19.0 percent.

- Jacksonville, Fla., has the lowest cost per doctor’s visit, $68, which is 2.7 times less expensive than in Milwaukee, the city with the highest at $182.

- San Francisco, Calif., has the lowest share of adults eating fruits less than once daily, 32.5 percent, which is 1.7 times lower than in Little Rock, Ark., the city with the highest at 56.0 percent.

- Portland, Ore., has the most gluten-free restaurants per 100,000 residents, 12.3, which is 41 times more than in Detroit, the city with the fewest at 0.3.

- Durham, N.C., has the most dietitians and nutritionists per 100,000 residents, 46.8, which is 5.3 times more than in Las Vegas, the city with the fewest at 8.8.

- El Paso, Texas, has the lowest average monthly cost for a fitness-club membership, $12.44, which is 6.2 times less expensive than in Anchorage, Alaska, the city with the highest at $77.56.

- Tallahassee, Fla., has the most walking trails per 1,000 residents, 80.2, which is 53.5 times more than in El Paso, Texas, the city with the fewest at 1.5.

The top healthiest cities, by survey results are San Francisco, Calif.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Scottsdale, Ariz; Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Irvine,Calif.; Huntington Beach, Calif.; Honolulu, HI; Washington, DC; and Santa Clarita, Calif.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:
TwitterFacebookGoogleLinkedinYoutubepinterest