RE/MAX 440
Mary Mastroeni
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

Care for Your Yard While Saving the Planet

May 12, 2017 12:30 am

As spring continues to green around us, I reminisced about the first correspondence from Dan Delventhal, who introduced America to MowGreen, a movement we have kept tabs on over the years.

This pollution reducing lawn care practice grew by 45 percent last year, according to Delventhal. With this in mind, he reached out to pass on a few pointers about avoiding harmful chemicals and applying your corn gluten pre-emergent weed control over the next couple weeks.

Aerate when wet. When it has rained and the soil is wet, Delventhal says that's the best time to do core aeration. Proper timing is essential for weed control to be effective.

Quality matters. For his clients' pre-emergent weed control, Delventhal gets the only certified non-GMO, organic corn gluten available. He says it suppresses new weed growth in spring and fall by desiccation, shunting new seed germination, as well as a protein type reaction that suppresses broadleaf weeds especially.

Once is NOT enough. When done in spring, fall and spring again, Delventhal says his product is reputed to be 90 percent effective for weed control. (A 50 lb bag covers 2500 square feet.)

Double duty. When it comes to fertilizing Delventhal says corn gluten is not only a weed suppressor, but a nitrogen fertilizer, too. When combined for weed control and including some grass and leaf mulch mowing — leaving clippings on the lawn — he says you may not need much fertilizing.

Boost overseeding. Additional fertilizer is often recommended to help boost overseeding success. Some fertilizing is often suggested after reviewing soil sample reports.

Go vegan. If fertilizer is needed, Delventhal recommends organic fertilizers that are all vegetable based - no animal products whatsoever.

Delventhal remains passionate about his MowGreen mission, reminding environmentally conscious consumers that cutting an average-sized lawn with a gas mower emits over four metric tons of carbon and other air pollution every year - the emissions equivalent of driving 10,000 more miles in a (non-hybrid / electric) car.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


What You Should Know Abou the Legalization of Marijuana

May 12, 2017 12:30 am

Regardless of your stance on medicinal or recreational marijuana use, the recent changes in the plant’s legal stance are unignorable. As more and more of the country legalizes marijuana in some form, it’s important to stay up-to-date on shifting laws and how they are impacting the country.

The following information is courtesy of Zane’s Law:

Money matters. As states look for creative ways to increase revenues, the legalization of marijuana has become one solution.  Through October of 2016 Colorado reported roughly $1.1 billion in legal sales of medical/recreational marijuana and related products and collected more than $150 million in taxes from these sales.

Patient support. The legalization of medical marijuana has been a positive for patients.  It is believed that marijuana is effective in treating a number of medical conditions and to be beneficial for cancer patients in relation to chemotherapy related nausea, vomiting, and overall pain.

Job creation. An analysis from the Marijuana Policy Group shows that in 2015 the legal marijuana industry created 18,005 jobs.  That makes the marijuana industry a stronger economic driver than 90 percent of the industries in Colorado.  

Easing strain on law enforcement. It's argued that the legalization of marijuana provides law enforcement with more time and money to focus on violent offenders because they no longer need to deal with minor possession offenses.

Violations still exist. Legalized marijuana does not mean marijuana can be used in public.  State laws typically limit where marijuana can be consumed, and a violation typically leads to a civil citation being issued.

Transportation woes. Colorado's neighboring states, Oklahoma and Nebraska, sued Colorado in December 2014 hoping to get the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene with Colorado's marijuana industry.  Their complaint was that marijuana purchased legally in Colorado is being transported illegally into or through their states, overwhelming police and courts with the increased drug arrests in their states.

FDA is not on board. Although many states have legalized marijuana for medical use, the marijuana plant is not an FDA approved medicine.  However, its chemicals known as cannabinoids has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form.   


Published with permission from RISMedia.


How to Avoid Employee Burnout

May 11, 2017 12:30 am

If you’re a business owner or manage a group of employees, you know keeping them engaged and happy is vital to the well-being of your company. However, you should also pay mind to signs of employee burnout, which can lead to a drop in productivity, a negative attitude, and the loss of employees. A Workforce Trends study put out by Kronos Inc. and Future Workplace found that burnout plays a key role in 20 to 50 percent of their annual workforce turnover.

Here are four tips, courtesy of management consulting firm Peter Stark, to create an environment where employees love coming to work so that customers love doing business with you.

Meaningful work. Employees want more than a job. They want to work on something that has a purpose, is meaningful and makes a difference. The work you do is the biggest driver on whether you are engaged or disengaged.

Continuous learning. Learning and development consistently rates as one of the most important drivers of engagement.  On every assignment or project, set goals with your team members on what they will learn and how it will benefit both customers and your company, especially if your team is made up of millennials. Studies have shown that millennials and other highly engaged employees do not do well with busy work. It is estimated that by 2020, millennials will comprise 50 percent of the workplace and by 2025, they will make up 75 percent of the workforce.

Stay connected. In today's workplace, it is incredibly easy to get disconnected and disengaged. As organizations continue to grow their workforces and change how people do their work, it will be critical to create smaller networks who frequently connect, communicate, collaborate, and even have fun working together as a team.

Provide feedback. While some managers hate the annual review process, continuous feedback is important in helping team members know what they are doing well, as well as providing them with opportunities for improvement.  


Published with permission from RISMedia.


Practice Sun Safety All Summer Long

May 11, 2017 12:30 am

Nothing feels as glorious as a splash of summer sun, especially after a long, cold winter. But staying safe in the sun is important for your short and long term health. Below are tips from for better sun safety, all season.

Use sunscreen. Startwith a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) SPF 15 or higher and increase to at least an SPF 30 for prolonged exposure. Look for natural sunscreens without harsh ingredients that can be toxic to your body and damage the environment, especially the ocean’s marine life.

Limit exposure during peak hours. The sun is the strongest during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Apply and reapply. Sunscreen should be applied 15-30 minutes prior to exposure and reapplied every two hours or after prolonged physical activity.

Wear protective gear. This includes wide-brimmed hats, sun protective fabrics, sunglasses and lip balms with an SPF greater than 15.

Be vigilant about your skin. Perform monthly head-to-toe self-exams, and see a dermatologist annually for a full-body skin cancer screening.


Published with permission from RISMedia.


Car-Buying Tips for College Grads

May 11, 2017 12:30 am

If you or a loved one recently graduated college, you may be thinking about your first major car purchase. Buying the first shiny car you see on the lot can be tempting, but it’s important to make a smart decision in order to protect yourself, and your finances.

Autotrader offers the following expert tips to make sure the car buying is experience is as satisfying and hassle-free as possible.

Consider new and used vehicles. New cars are almost guaranteed to have the latest technological upgrades, as well as extensive warranties and incentives that you generally can't get on the pre-owned market. However, used cars typically cost less and therefore depreciate less over time.  

Know your options when it comes to leasing and buying a vehicle. When you graduate from college, it's hard to say where you're going to be a few years down the road. But if you can count on staying put for at least two years, leasing could be a convenient option. The car is typically new or nearly-new, and if anything goes wrong unexpectedly, the dealership covers the cost.

Figure out what you can afford. Once you've decided on a few cars worth considering, it's time to find out what will work within your budget. If you're interested in financing or leasing your next car, determine your maximum monthly payment before you get your heart set on anything.


Published with permission from RISMedia.


Energy Efficient Tips for Thrifty Homeowners

May 10, 2017 12:30 am

Many savvy homeowners like to save money, but the savviest know you can save money while also being energy efficient. According to the experts at Petri Plumbing & Heating, these five home upgrades can make your home green, without breaking the bank.

On-demand hot water heater. On-demand or "tankless" hot water systems heat water as needed, which saves energy and money. New ENERGY STAR® tankless water heaters can reduce your annual water costs by up to 30 percent and last nearly 20 years, double the lifespan of an average, traditional hot water heater.

Low flow toilets. An excellent way to save money and water is to install new toilets. Many toilets use up to 5 gallons of water per flush. A low flow toilet is required to flush at 1.28 gallons per flush.

Smart thermostat. An easy and inexpensive way to instantly make your heating and cooling system more efficient is with a programmable thermostat. New programmable thermostats allow you to set your home at different temperatures for different times of day, so you aren't paying to heat or cool your home when no one is there. An added benefit of smart thermostats is you can control them remotely using a simple application on your smartphone.

LED lights. Swap out your old incandescent lights for ENERGY STAR qualified LED lighting and you'll consume 75 percent less energy. In addition to being more energy efficient, LED lights last up to 50 times longer than incandescent lights and up to five times longer than fluorescent ones, saving you time replacing burnt out bulbs.

Ceiling fans. Adding ceiling fans to your home is a low-cost way to reduce energy consumption. During hot summer days, ceiling fans can reduce cooling costs by up to 40 percent. Even in the winter, a ceiling fan helps circulate air and can save you up to ten percent on your heating bill.

Source: Petri Plumbing & Heating

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Stay Connected During a Storm

May 10, 2017 12:30 am

Whether you’re expecting an electric storm or a hail storm, it’s important to ensure you can stay connected to your loved ones should an emergency occur. Below, Verizon Communications offers tips for charging up--and staying charged--before the weather sours.  

Charge your devices before a storm hits, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, DVD players, flashlights and radios. To preserve battery life, dim the background light on your screen and turn off background data applications or Wi-Fi search services.

Create a list of emergency phone numbers and email addresses, including police, fire and rescue agencies; power companies; insurance providers; and family, friends and co-workers. Program them into your phone, smartphone, tablet or laptop and also have a hard copy handy, someplace easily accessible

Text, don't call. When communicating with family during an emergency situation, opt for brief text messages rather than voice calls. Text messages are likely to get through more quickly in a crisis.

Program your smartphone to receive emergency alerts. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are free wireless notifications that are delivered to your mobile device as part of a public safety system

Know your apps:
- Download weather applications and alerts that provide users with a variety of information such as radar images, forecasts and severe storm warnings.
- Download apps and subscribe to alerts from aid and relief organizations such as the American Red Cross' apps for first aid, hurricane and shelter, and the Commercial Mobile Alert System from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Use your free flashlight app. All smartphones have a free flashlight app in case the power goes out.

Backup your information on the cloud. The cloud can safely store your info should your devices become damaged. For Verizon customers, Verizon Wireless offers backup assistance through the Verizon cloud to store your phone's address book and contact information as well as pictures and other content on a secure server.

Source: Verizon Communications Inc.  

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Why You Should Rethink Vinyl Siding

May 9, 2017 12:30 am

As a homeowner, you may have the misconception that vinyl siding is a thing of the past. However, with recent advances in vinyl technology (yes, that’s a thing!), vinyl is being reconsidered as a reliable, affordable siding option. According to Ply Gem, these are the top reasons you should rethink vinyl.

Flexibility of design. Vinyl siding today now comes in a wide range of colors (everything from pastels to deep hues), profiles and architectural trim and accessory products to assist architects, builders and homeowners in customizing home designs.  

Exceptional durability. Vinyl siding lasts. Homeowners should look for a siding option that is resistant to every element, including rain, wind and even the sun, like Ply Gem’s Mastic Home Exteriors options.

Energy savings. Research shows insulated vinyl siding contributes to savings in energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Made with a premium, recycled-content, vinyl siding can deliver natural beauty alongside significant insulation properties that homeowners concerned with sustainability as well as energy savings can feel good about.

Less cost over time. Vinyl siding is a long-term investment. Because vinyl siding can be installed faster and requires little maintenance without the need to paint, stain or caulk, over the lifetime of the product, it is less costly when compared to other siding options, including fiber cement, brick and wood.

Source: Ply Gem

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Seven Secrets to Happier Pets

May 9, 2017 12:30 am

A smiling pet means a smiling pet owner. However, the happiness of your animal is something you should consider from day one. Below are seven tips from the  American Veterinary Medical Association for giving your furry friend a long, happy life.

Find the perfect fit. Selecting the animal that's right for your family is the first step in building a lifelong relationship with your pet. Some factors to consider are species and breed, time and financial commitments, and the level of care your pet will need. A veterinarian can help you consider all of the factors, so it's a good idea to talk with one even before you make your decision. If you have already welcomed a pet into your home, talk to your veterinarian about the specific social and health care needs that may be unique to your animal.

Socialize. Creating a socialization plan will help your pet feel more comfortable in its new home, and among other animals and people. Pets that are well socialized often develop calmer and more confident temperaments that help them enjoy a wider range of interactions and activities.  

Exercise body. Exercise mind. Just like people, pets require regular exercise to maintain cardiovascular health, preserve a healthy weight, and provide mental stimulation. Exercising with your pet also offers the opportunity to strengthen the human-animal bond through shared experiences outside of the home. Your veterinarian can help you create an exercise program based on your pet's breed, age, lifestyle, and overall health.

Love your pet? See your vet! When was the last time you took your pet for a checkup? The AVMA recommends regular wellness exams for all animals, but many pet owners (53.9 percent of cat owners and 48.6 percent of dog owners) only take their pet to the veterinarian when they are visibly sick or injured. Pets often hide signs of illness, so routine checkups are vital in preventing potential diseases, catching health problems early, and treating illnesses quickly. Not only does early treatment improve the chances of a longer life for your pet, it can also save you money. If your pet hasn't had a wellness exam in over a year, schedule an appointment today.

Pet population control: Know your role. Spaying or neutering your pet is important in preventing overpopulation and can also keep your animal healthy. There are many options when it comes to spaying or neutering, including both surgical and non-surgical procedures. You can also avoid unplanned breeding through containment or managed breeding. Talk to your veterinarian about the decision to spay or neuter your pet, and make sure to discuss the benefits and risks associated with these procedures.

Emergencies happen. Be prepared. You want to keep your pet safe, even in the event of a natural disaster or other unplanned emergency. It's important to include your pets in your family's emergency plan and ensure their safety in any situation.

Give them a lifetime of love. Thanks to better care, pets are living longer than they ever have before – but as pets get older, they need extra care and attention. Talk to your veterinarian about what is normal behavior in your aging pet, and what may be a cause for concern.  Regular examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life.

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association

Published with permission from RISMedia.


How to Finance That Business Expansion

May 9, 2017 12:30 am

If you’re a business owner hoping to expand in the near future, you likely have a lot on your mind. If you’re looking to take out a line of credit to grow, your list of to-dos may be tripled. According to the experts at Sun National Bank, these are the most important things you can do before you approach a lender.

Fine-Tune Your Plan. When it comes to financing expansion, careful research is essential. Study your past sales, research your market, and look at your competitors to make sure your business is growing in the right direction. Take time to understand the obstacles and costs. These may include new expenses, a bigger workload for you and your staff, the challenge of bringing your business to a new market, or new competitors. This can show you where your strategy requires adjustment and may help you find the best time to begin expansion.

Forecast Expansion Cost. An effective forecast will help you understand the price tag of your expansion. For example, if your retail business is opening a second location, determine your facility, staff, and inventory expenses based on your experience with your first location. Also, research the performance of similar-sized competitors in comparable markets. A new location, new service line, or other expansion may not become a revenue driver right away; set a realistic timeline for how long it will take this investment to break even and ultimately become profitable.

Watch Your Credit. Securing the financing you need at the best possible terms requires a good credit rating. For many small-business owners, especially Sub S and sole proprietors, your individual credit is just as important as your business's credit. Staying current on all your accounts is essential. As you prepare to finance your business expansion, request your credit reports, so you'll know your personal and business credit scores. If there are any errors in these reports, contact the credit rating agency immediately.

The best financing option for your organization will depend on the size of your business, scope of your expansion, and capital needs. Lending options include:

- Term Loan: Ideal for a one-time expense, such as renovating or expanding your facility.
- Equipment Financing: Designed for big-ticket equipment purchases, such as manufacturing needs or IT infrastructure.
- Business Line of Credit: A useful solution for other short-term cash flow and working capital needs.

Source: Sun National Bank

Published with permission from RISMedia.