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

Question of the Day

April 29, 2011 4:23 pm

Q: What about a vacation home as an investment?

A: Like any investment, it can be risky. Location and current market conditions are extremely important when deciding whether to buy.

Other things to consider:

- Will you be able to afford repairs, maintenance, insurance, and utilities?

- What about fees to pay agents who rent the property for you?

- If you live several miles away from your vacation home, who will clean up between tenants and take an inventory of household items once the tenants leave?

- What if you are unable to rent your second home? Can your pocketbook withstand the strain of paying the mortgage?

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

More Consumers Say Privacy Is Biggest Concern when Using Mobile Applications on Smartphones

April 29, 2011 4:23 pm

RISMEDIA, April 29, 2011-Recently, at both APPNATION and the Mobile Marketing Strategies Summit, TRUSTe, an online privacy solutions provider, announced the results of a survey of 1000 smartphone users nationwide on issues relating to privacy and usage of mobile applications and mobile web sites. The Q1 2011 online poll-conducted by Harris Interactive-included responses that reveal attitudes and perceptions about mobile privacy, primary areas of concern and current safeguards being implemented.

Nearly all respondents agreed that privacy is an important issue when using a mobile device and that they want more transparency and control over what personal information is collected and how it is shared. In addition, smartphone users want more choices about advertising and geo-location tracking. Thirty-eight percent say privacy is the number one concern when using mobile applications, followed by security (26 percent); identity tracking (19 percent); and sharing information with or without permission (14 percent).

"This survey makes it crystal clear that privacy concerns are a huge stumbling block to consumer usage of applications and websites on smartphones," says Fran Maier, president and executive chair, TRUSTe. "As growth of the mobile market continues to surge, the industry needs a dedicated approach to educate consumers about how their data is being used and lets them make choices whether or not to engage. Overcoming consumer hesitancy and addressing increased lawmaker and regulator concerns require privacy practices that include notice and choice. TRUSTe is committed to extending those capabilities to the mobile platform."

Tracking and Behavioral Targeting are Hot Buttons

The survey shows that behavioral advertising is one of the top consumer issues relating to mobile marketing, with a majority being apprehensive about advertising tracking and wanting the choice not to participate. Specifically:

An educated 68 percent of respondents indicate being aware of advertisers tracking mobile activity and delivering personalized content as a result

A significant 85 percent want the choice to opt in or opt out of targeted mobile advertisements

Seventy-five percent of smartphone users say they do not like advertiser tracking

While location tracking remains a concern, the survey reveals that some smartphone users do permit access to their whereabouts

Only 36 percent feel they have a choice regarding the collection and use of their location information

Less than one-third of those surveyed say their smartphone alerts them when location information is being collected. (Note: this is significantly more common for iPhone users.)

Survey Shows Consumers Crave More Control before Fully Trusting Mobile Opportunities

A whopping 98 percent of consumers say having easy access to controls over their personal information in a mobile application is important

Only 38 percent feel confident that mobile applications will protect their privacy

Just 25 percent believe their application store only makes available applications that safeguard their privacy

While 90 percent say they have downloaded at least one application for their phone, 85 percent restrict at least some type of information sharing on mobile applications

Forty percent of those surveyed do not use mobile applications or mobile websites that ask for or use their personal information, with 38 percent saying they don't access their online accounts via mobile devices at all.

TRUSTe's independent analysis of the top 340 free mobile applications shows that only 19 percent have a link to a privacy policy, which demonstrates how much work mobile application providers have ahead. In the Harris survey, 51 percent of consumers confirmed that they do look for a privacy policy on mobile applications, with just over one-half indicating having read one.

"Given the highly personal nature of the mobile phone, privacy remains a top priority for the MMA as we carry out efforts to provide standards and guidelines for marketers," says Michael Becker, managing director of North America for the Mobile Marketing Association. "The MMA is encouraged by the investment in privacy research, privacy management solutions and standards that many of its members are making. It is the continued implementation of these types of programs that keep consumer best interest in mind for the responsible and sustainable growth of the industry."

For more information visit http://www.truste.com/mobile.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Word of the Day

April 29, 2011 7:23 am

Subletting. The leasing of premises by a lessee to a third party for part of the lessee's remaining term.

Copyright 2010 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Question of the Day

April 29, 2011 7:23 am

Q: What about repairs made to get the home ready for sale?

A: If you realize a taxable gain after you sell your home, even with an exclusion, you can reduce your gain with selling costs. These selling costs may include items that are otherwise considered to be repairs such as painting, wallpapering, even planting flowers if you complete them within 90 days of your home sale and provided they were completed to make the home more saleable.

Copyright 2010 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Unused and Expired Prescription Drugs Pose Safety Threats

April 29, 2011 7:23 am

RISMEDIA, April 28, 2011-In a nationwide effort to clear homes of potentially dangerous, expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs, Independence Blue Cross is supporting the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day taking place on Saturday, April 30.

"At IBC, we focus on enhancing the health and wellness of the Philadelphia region, and so we are proud to be an advocate for responsible use and disposal of all prescription medicines once they are no longer in use," says Dr. Richard Snyder, IBC's chief medical officer. "National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day helps raise awareness of the serious dangers of improper drug use and disposal, and it also benefits the safety of our environment, which will have positive effects on the health of our community as a whole."

According to a national survey on Drug Use and Health, more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined. The Partnership for a Drug Free America reports that each day, approximately 2,500 teens use prescription drugs to get high for the first time. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including the home medicine cabinet. In addition, research indicates that usual methods of disposing unused medicines-flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash-pose potential safety and health hazards.

This year on April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the DEA will offer hundreds of locations available for the public to dispose unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous; no questions asked. For more information and to find the collection site nearest you, visit www.dea.gov, click on "Got Drugs?" and enter your zip code.

During its inaugural National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in September 2010, the DEA collected more than 121 tons of prescription drugs at nearly 4,100 collection sites across the country. This year's collection numbers are expected to exceed the 2010 figures.

"Many do not know that prescription drug abuse is an epidemic. Unused prescription medicines that remain in homes can be misused or abused if they get in the wrong hands of children, family or friends," says Allan Korn, M.D., BCBSA senior vice president and chief medical officer. "BCBSA and Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies nationwide are leading efforts to increase patient safety and make it a healthcare priority and we commend the DEA's efforts of providing a safe and easy way for Americans to drop off their unnecessary prescription drugs."

For more information visit www.ibx.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Spruce up Your Home This Spring

April 29, 2011 7:23 am

RISMEDIA, April 28, 2011-Now that Spring is here, wood care manufacturer Ronseal is urging people to spruce up their homes and do those jobs they've been putting off all winter.

1. Get rid of those unsightly holes. General wear and tear and unfinished DIY tasks mean houses are full of holes and cracks. Apply a filler to resolve the problem. Easy to use, these products will help even the most novice DIYer achieve smooth, professional results-whether it's a hairline crack or a gaping hole!

2. Knock wood knots on the head. Unsealed knotty wood such as pine can cause paintwork to discolor quickly if a good exterior wood paint hasn't been used. To keep your wood looking good for longer apply primer and undercoat to bare or previously painted wood, to prevent knots from showing through.

3. Finish floors with finesse. A beautifully painted floor can be a real focal point in the home. Make sure all of that hard work lasts by choosing a highly durable, slip resistant paint.

4. Hide those horrible damp water marks. Apply an anti-damp paint directly to damp walls and ceilings. Many of these paints dry in just one to two hours, leave a smooth white finish with just one coat and are ideal for interior surfaces including plaster, cement and stone.

5. Don't neglect window frames, doors and skirting boards. Varnish is the easiest way to achieve beautiful interior wood.

For more information visit www.ronseal.co.uk.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Get a Head Start on Next Winter with a New Roofing System

April 29, 2011 7:23 am

By John Voket, RISMedia Columnist

RISMEDIA, April 28, 2011-It wasn't very long ago that your RIS Consumer Confidant was peering out across several feet of snow, which also weighed heavily on many neighbors' roofs. And while it is too late for the winter of 2011, there's no harm in preparing early for next winter with some ideas about rooftop snow melting systems.

First, a little orientation: there are four main types of roof snow melting system that an individual can choose from, according to our contacts at WarmQuest in Salt Lake City (Warmquest.com):

Gutter melting: Heated cables can be placed in the gutters of a roof. This is primarily meant to keep gutters clear of possible build-ups of ice.

Heat roof edges: The heated cables here are installed strategically on the edge of the roof to prevent icicles from forming.

Heated roof: This is pretty self-explanatory. The entire roof is heated to melt snow either as it comes down, or in stages while it is still too cold to melt the snowfall as one.

Heated problem areas: A roof is assessed for weaknesses and heating elements are fitted where needed. Every roof has different weaknesses and must be evaluated on an individual basis.

The main goal of having a roof ice melting system is to prevent the buildup of ice dams and large icicles around eaves, drains, and valleys. Companies like WarmQuest offer low voltage systems that can be installed under asphalt, shake or tile shingles, have a low level of visibility and can be stapled or nailed down, as long as it is on a non-conductive surface.

Do you have metal roofing? No problem-the company's Tuff Cable can be installed in a Heatizon Heatsink Kit, or Invizimelt Aluminum Panel for deicing under metal roofing.

WarmQuest claims the systems are easy to install, and guarantee the electrical equipment is ETL listed and conforms to UL Standards.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

How to Get Your Security Deposit Back

April 29, 2011 7:23 am

By Stephanie Rabiner

RISMEDIA, April 28, 2011-Security deposits are part of rental life, but that doesn't mean that they aren't the bane of every renter's existence.

It's rare that a tenant doesn't have security deposit landlord issues, with delays and too many deductions.

If you're currently having (or want to prepare for) security deposit problems, this is what you need to know about landlord disputes over security deposits.

Every state has a specific deadline for how long a landlord may hold a tenant's security deposit after he has moved out. Within that time limit-normally 14 to 60 days-the landlord must mail the security deposit, plus any applicable interest and an itemized list of all deductions made for cleaning, repairs and unpaid rent.

If you're having security deposit landlord issues, chances are that your landlord has either deducted more than normal wear and tear, has wrongfully deducted past due rent, or just hasn't sent the money at all.

The first step in recovering your security deposit is to simultaneously send a letter -be sure to keep a copy-and make a phone call to your ex-landlord requesting your security deposit. Give him a few days to respond.

If the polite route is ineffective, you have the right to take your ex-landlord to small claims court.

Small claims courts typically have a maximum recoverable limit of $7,500 and don't permit parties to be represented by attorneys. Small claims judges are generally understanding, and as long as you bring evidence of your claims, you should be able to effectively present your case.

Should you win in small claims court, your ex-landlord must pay your security deposit and any court fees. If he fails to do so, you can always file papers to have the sheriff collect the judgment for you.

For more information visit www.findlaw.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Word of the Day

April 29, 2011 7:23 am

Survey. An exact measurement of the size and boundaries of a piece of land taken by civil engineers or surveyors.

Copyright 2008 RISMedia, Inc., All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

How Healthy Is Your Indoor Air?

April 29, 2011 7:23 am

RISMEDIA, April 29, 2011-The Healthy House Institute (HHI) and the Home Ventilating Institute (HVI) have announced the release of the 2011 QuickGuide to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)-a concise mini-guide with checklists to help consumers identify simple steps to make their indoor air healthier.

QuickGuide to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Though invisible, air is the most basic, life-sustaining feature of your home. Preventive measures, ventilation, and daily habits play a role in protecting your home's precious supply.

Threats to the Breathing Space

Dirt and Dust: Outdoor soil can contain fertilizer, pesticides and more. Tracked in, it becomes part of the indoor dust, which already holds dander, dust mites, plastics, and sometimes lead or asbestos from indoor sources. As dust becomes airborne, these substances may enter the body and cause symptoms ranging from asthma and allergy flare-ups to even nervous system damage and cancer.

Mold: Airborne mold spores and mold fragments can trigger asthma and allergy episodes.

VOCs: Volatile organic compounds are found in cleaning liquids, paints, solvents and many more household supplies. They volatize or "off gas" into the air. Not all are harmful, but at high levels, many can cause a range of symptoms from short-term irritation to more ominous organ damage and cancer. The impact of lower levels and of mixtures of VOCs is under discussion or unknown, but reducing exposure is generally a good policy.

Formaldehyde: This VOC is used in a wide variety of household products. Manufacturers have scaled back-but in many cases not eliminated-its use. It is a known carcinogen and can trigger asthma attacks and irritate the eyes and respiratory system. Off gassing can continue for years, decreasing over time.

Asbestos: Found in some insulation, fireproofing materials, acoustic tile and "popcorn" ceilings, these tiny particles can cause lung-tissue damage and cancer. Asbestos containing materials are harmless as long as they stay intact, but disintegration frees the fibers to enter the airspace and the lungs.

Lead: Damaging to the nervous system, lead can enter the air as dust. Blood lead levels have dropped dramatically since the 1980s, indicating that unleaded gasoline and strategies regarding lead paint and lead pipes are working. Continued vigilance in the home is recommended, especially if your home is older.

Moisture: Water leaks and high relative humidity encourage mold growth, dust mite proliferation and increased formaldehyde emissions from building materials, furnishings and other household items. These irritants can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.

Carbon Monoxide: Fuel-burning appliances and idling cars in attached garages can release carbon monoxide into the home, causing approximately 500 preventable deaths each year and thousands more to become ill.

Radon: Radioactive gas can cause lung cancer-no smoking necessary. The EPA estimates radon causes 21,000 preventable deaths each year. Radon testing is quite inexpensive and almost effort-free.

Three Action Principles

Eliminate

Often, the most reliable method of protecting yourself from unhealthy exposures in the home is simply to make sure harmful materials and contaminants are not present. Building or furnishing carefully with less hazardous materials, as well as proper cleaning, eliminates many health threats.

Separate or Isolate

When removal is not advisable or not possible, reduce exposure by creating a sealed barrier. For example, tight wall construction keeps potentially hazardous insulation particles out of the living space.

Ventilate

Reduce remaining air contaminants by regularly letting stale air out and fresh air in. Balancing in and out airflows in this process provides fresh air for your family and prevents a vacuum from forming and drawing air from a dangerous source like the furnace exhaust.

Action Plan

Regular Habits

Use a central vacuum that exhausts outside, or a well-filtered (e.g., sealed HEPA) portable vacuum

Dust with tools that don't flip dust into the air

Declutter to remove dust harbors

Sweep entry walks and keep large mats at doors

Remove shoes when coming in from outside

Keep relative humidity at 30 percent to 50 percent

Reduce spray and aerosol cleaner use

Use low-VOC cleaning solutions and products

Run exhaust fans while cooking and showering. Open a window slightly if necessary to keep air pressure balanced

Air out bedding daily to release body moistures before making bed; launder weekly in hot water

Continuously use ventilation systems to provide healthful air in the home

Annual Protections

Replace batteries in carbon monoxide alarm(s)

Clean and/or inspect furnace ducts and A/C unit

Sweep chimney

Inspect roof and repair as needed

Winterize outdoor faucets

As Needed

Test for radon at least once and as house settles

Fix window leaks-caulking, weather stripping, etc.

Check for and repair plumbing leaks

Monthly to quarterly, replace central A/C and ventilator filters with MERV 10 or 11, or the highest-efficiency filtration your units can handle (see manuals)

New Construction & Special Projects

Install hard floors or remove old (dust-filled) carpet and replace with low-pile, low-VOC carpeting

Use low- or no-formaldehyde alternatives over traditional particleboard and plywood building materials and furnishings. Substitutes include solid wood or outdoor grade plywood

Apply moisture barriers during flooring foundation and wall construction.

Install a whole-house, continuous ventilation system

Build in radiant rather than forced air heat

For good drainage, create or renew a 5 to 6 percent grade of soil sloping away from the house

Professional Assistance Recommended

Deep clean carpet and upholstery

Clean chimney

Home inspection

HVAC inspection

Mold abatement

Asbestos remediation

Radon mitigation

Lead abatement

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

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


Tags:
TwitterFacebookGoogleLinkedinYoutubepinterest