Edward E. Hodgson Jr.RE/MAX 440 photo collage
Home
Market Snapshot
My Listings
View Area Listings
Foreclosures
Short Sales
Inside Tours
Federal Home Buyers Tax Credit
Mortgage Info
Community Info
School Info
About Me
Ed's Blog
Contact Me
Login
Helpful Links
Edward E. Hodgson Jr.
1110 North Broad Street | Lansdale, PA 19446
Phone: 215-362-2260 | Office Phone: 215-362-2260 | Fax: 267-354-6844
Cell: 215-850-6973 | email: ed@edhodgsonrealtor.com

My Blog

http://rrein.rismedia.com/feeds/15985/news.rss

Effective Mold Identification and Treatment Tips for a Healthy Home

May 21, 2012 5:42 am

We all know that April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, however, a wet spring season can do more than help plants grow. In fact, heavy rain storms can actually pose a threat to homeowners in the form of mold. While it’s common for mold to be present in the great outdoors, it can pose serious risks if left untreated within the home.

Molds are basically fungi that come in thousands of species, not all of which are harmful. However, many are capable of causing physical problems ranging from slight allergic reactions and skin conditions to more serious neurological and respiratory problems. People with weak or compromised immune systems, such as very young children and the elderly, are particularly at risk for problems related to mold.

Mold occurs normally in outdoor environments, serving as nature’s recycling center and breaking down the dead organic matter from animals or plants. Humans encounter mold and even inhale mold spores every day with no ill effects whatsoever. When mold occurs in an indoor environment, however, things change. Suddenly, mold and its accompanying spores (through which it reproduces) are encountered (and inhaled) in large concentrations. When you consider the job that mold is designed to do on organic matter, it becomes easy to see how it could become a serious health hazard.

Mold occurs as the byproduct of water damage, or in any area where the moisture level is sufficient enough to sustain its growth. Even if the mold is not dangerous to anyone’s health, it still presents a problem since it destroys the surface on which it grows, meaning that a growth that is large enough could cause serious damage. Homes, businesses, and even entire city blocks have been condemned and destroyed simply due to out of control mold growth. For this reason alone, professional mold remediation services should be brought in to handle mold infestations.

Unfortunately, too many people mistakenly believe that removing the mold is sufficient. This is not true. Unless the area is properly treated, the mold will eventually return. The affected area should be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and humidity levels brought down to within acceptable parameters, normally between 40-45 percent. Only by changing the environment to make it inhospitable to mold can any property owner hope to avoid mold problems in the future.

Even new homes may have mold problems, so mold inspections are recommended for new home purchases. Newly constructed homes are often tightly sealed up between the time that construction is finished and the time the home is sold. Any moisture trapped inside will have no place to go, and over time may easily give way to mold and mildew growth.

Source: Restoration Local

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Nearly Three-Quarters of American Grill Owners Fire Up the Grill on Memorial Day

May 18, 2012 5:40 am

According to the 23rd annual Weber GrillWatch™ Survey, 71 percent of American grill owners fire up their backyard grill on Memorial Day, a 10 percent jump from last year.

"We continue to see a rise in the number of people grilling for nearly all major holidays, including Memorial Day, the Fourth of July (90 percent), Father's Day (53 percent) and even birthdays (76 percent)," said Brooke Jones, Director of Marketing for Weber-Stephen Products LLC, one of the world's leading manufacturers of outdoor gas and charcoal grills and grilling accessories.

Weber commissioned Toluna to field the 23nd annual Weber GrillWatch Survey. A total of 1,000 grill owners throughout the United States completed the online survey. All respondents were 21 years of age or older and currently own a charcoal, gas or electric outdoor grill or smoker. The sample was divided between 50 percent males and 50 percent females and was balanced demographically to represent households across the U.S.

Other top trends include:

A Surge in Electric Grilling Popularity

Sixty-two percent of American grill owners who have never grilled on an outdoor electric grill are interested in trying, a six percent increase over the past three years. In addition, the survey showed:

-Grill owners who have used an outdoor electric grill (24 percent) list the top three reasons they enjoy electric grilling as: easy to use (61 percent), does not require fuel (52 percent), and heats up quickly (51 percent).

Southerners and the Art of Smoking
By region, grill owners in the South rule when it comes to smoking foods, with 41 percent reporting they know how to use an outdoor smoker. Northeasterners are the least likely to know how to use an outdoor smoker at 29 percent. The West and Midwest are tied at 36 percent. Additional smoke cooking statistics include:

-Forty-four percent of grillers who do not know how to use a smoker are interested in learning how to use one.
-Smoker owners are the most prolific grillers, spending an average of 7.5 hours per week grilling during their grilling season.

Other Newsworthy Facts from the Weber GrillWatch Survey
-Currently, 71 percent of all Americans (21 and older) own an outdoor grill and or smoker.
-Almost three-quarters of American grill owners (74 percent) are using their grill at least once a week during their grilling season, an increase from 69 percent last year.
-The three foods grilled most often are hamburgers (73 percent), chicken (41 percent) and steak (40 percent).
-Grillers consider dessert the most challenging food to grill (35 percent), followed by fish (30 percent) and pizza (28 percent).

For more information, visit www.weber.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Water Your Lawn the Right Way with These Simple Tips

May 18, 2012 5:40 am

Watering the grass is a critical part of maintaining a healthy lawn. Watering too little can cause the grass to turn brown and thin out, creating room for weeds. Watering too much can lead to turf disease and shallow root systems, which means your grass is weaker and less able to stand up to drought, lawn-feeding pests and other problems.

TruGreen, one of the nation's largest professional lawn care services and part of the ServiceMaster family of brands, regularly monitors U.S. weather data to enable the company's trained lawn care specialists to effectively address local agronomic conditions while promoting responsible water conservation. The lawn experts at TruGreen have some tips to help you water your lawn the right way.

How to Tell When Your Lawn Needs Water
Turfgrass plants are 70 to 75 percent water, so giving them enough water is vital. Symptoms of inadequate water are easily seen:
-Grass slowly loses its bright green color and starts to fade to yellow.
-You may notice wilting, which causes grass blades to roll or fold.
-If you walk across your lawn and your footprints remain in the grass, or lawn mower tracks remain visible, your lawn needs water.
-If grass loses its green color altogether and turns yellow and then tan, that signals drought dormancy. That means grass has stopped growing. Once your lawn has turned brown and lost all color during drought dormancy, it could take several weeks of steady watering to spur regrowth.

The most accurate way to determine whether your lawn needs water is to use a knife to cut a wedge of soil (through the turf) about four inches deep and feel the soil. Ideally, it should be moist, not powder dry nor soggy and wet.

"Signs of typical wear and tear on yards this time of year are amplified when lawns are stressed," said Ben Hamza, Ph.D., director of technical operations at TruGreen. "Brown spots on lawns may not always be from lack of water or nutrients, but instead from lawn-feeding insects that can mimic drought damage on select grass types. Homeowners need to have a clear understanding of the source of the yard problem to effectively resolve."

How to Water Your Lawn
Established lawns should be watered deeply, but infrequently. Deep watering once a week encourages deeper root growth, while frequent, shallow watering produces a limited root system.

-When watering, make sure you moisten the top three to four inches of soil, which covers the root zone.
-Although watering frequency depends on the type of grass, your soil, and the weather, most grasses require about one inch of water each week for healthy growth. Let Mother Nature do as much of the watering for you as possible.
-The best time to water is in the morning and in non-windy conditions. This conserves water and allows grass to dry before evening. Grass that remains wet for long periods of time is more susceptible to disease development. Watering in the afternoon is the worst for water conservation. Up to half the water can evaporate in the air or on the ground during the hot part of the day.
-If you're using a movable sprinkler, let it run in one spot just until the water begins to run off the surface, then move to a different area of the lawn.
-Monitor your underground irrigation or sprinkler system to be sure that you moisten the lawn's entire root zone without over-watering any sections.
-To help ensure uniformity, place a one-inch deep, empty food can in the middle of lawn area to measure depth of water collected after each watering cycle.
-Make sure you are familiar with and follow any local watering restrictions.

Source: TruGreen

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Fixed Mortgage Rates Hit Record Lows...Again

May 18, 2012 5:40 am

Freddie Mac recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates again hitting new record lows. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3.79 percent continues to remain well below 4 percent and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages are also slightly down at 3.04 percent.

Additional details from the PMMS:
-30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.79 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending May 17, 2012, down from last week when it averaged 3.83 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.61 percent.
-15-year FRM this week averaged 3.04 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.05 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.80 percent.
-5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.83 percent this week, with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.81 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.48 percent.
-1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.78 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.73 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 3.15 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Seven in Ten Americans Cooking More, Eating Out Less

May 17, 2012 5:40 am

One of the ways people gauge when an economic recovery is occurring is when Americans start spending more on things like eating out in restaurants.

According to the results of a recent Harris Poll, people are indeed dining out. Over three in five U.S. adults (63 percent) have dined at a fast food restaurant chain in the past month and about half have dined at a local casual dining establishment (53 percent) and a casual dining restaurant chain (50 percent). Fewer have dined at either a local fine dining establishment (18 percent) or a fine dining restaurant chain (9 percent) while 13 percent of Americans have not dined at any of these types of restaurants in the past month.

However, while Americans are dining out, they are still cutting back on how often they do so. In looking at the past six months, about one-third say they are eating less frequently at fast food chains (36 percent), casual dining restaurant chains (34 percent), and local casual dining restaurants (34 percent).

Women are more likely than men to say they are dining out less frequently in these three types of restaurants over the past six months. For example, two in five women (41 percent) say they are dining less frequently at fast food restaurants compared to 31 percent of men.

Seven in ten Americans (71 percent) say they find themselves cooking more instead of going out in order to save more money, while over half (57 percent) say going out used to be a regular occurrence but it is now a luxury. On the flip side, three in five U.S. adults (60 percent) disagree with the notion that they will eat out as often but now usually at a lower priced restaurant. Only three in ten Americans (29 percent) say they will cut spending in other places in order to still be able to dine out.

"Consumer restaurant behavior continues to evolve as they manage their budgets in an ongoing tight economy. At the beginning of the economic downturn we saw consumers saving money by changing their behavior in two ways: eating out less frequently and shifting their eating-out dollars away from Casual Dining towards Fast Food/Quick Service restaurants," according to Mary Bouchard, vice president and thought leader at Harris Interactive. "Now, with several years of experience with constrained budgets, they have shifted even further from the busy-lifestyle convenience of eating out on a regular basis to making time for cooking at home. When they do eat out, not surprisingly, price is still a primary component of their decision making process."

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Refreshing Your Laundry Room

May 17, 2012 5:40 am

If you’re noticing that your summer clothes are dull and grey and your whites are yellowing, part of the problem may be a dirty washing machine, according to the experts at The Maids. To keep you and your wearables looking fresh, The Maids suggest the following steps for cleaning your laundry room:

The Washer
- Clean out your washer every month or so by adding vinegar to the wash cycle. For top loaders, turn the setting to the largest load and fill the empty machine with hot water. Once filled, stop the cycle and add three to four cups of distilled white vinegar. Turn off the machine. After letting the water sit for about 30 minutes to an hour, restart the machine and finish the cycle. To eliminate odor, add one-half cup of baking soda to the vinegar-water mixture. For front-loading machines, place vinegar and baking soda into the empty machine and run through a wash cycle.
- Occasionally wipe out the inside of the machine with a damp cloth or soft brush and a tiny bit of detergent.
- To keep the machine clean and eliminate residue, use less detergent. Oftentimes, you can cut the amount in half. Add a small amount of vinegar, about one-fourth cup, to the rinse cycle to replace fabric softener. Vinegar is less expensive and is a natural whitening agent, leaving white clothes whiter and colored clothes brighter.
- If you have a removable detergent compartment, let it soak in vinegar to eliminate sticky residue. If it is not removable, warm a cup of vinegar in the microwave then pour it into the detergent compartment. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before running a wash cycle.

The Dryer
- After every use, empty the dryer's lint trap. About once a week, get rid of all the lint residue on the trap by washing it in the sink or vacuuming it. Use a long, flexible brush to clean any stray lint from the housing that holds the lint trap. Occasionally clean the inside of the dryer by wiping it down with a damp cloth and a tiny dab of dishwashing detergent.
- Use the same method – damp cloth and dishwashing liquid – to clean fronts, sides and tops of machines.

The Laundry Room
- Sweep or vacuum the floor, launder any rugs and dust or vacuum under the washer and dryer, being careful to avoid hoses and cords.
- Occasionally clean the dryer hose with a duster or long vacuum attachment. This will clear away lint stuck to the walls of the hose. Follow manufacturer's directions for detaching the hose.
- Clean the sink and deodorize the drain by pouring in one-four cup of baking soda followed by a cup of white distilled vinegar. After letting the mix sit for about 15 minutes, rinse with hot water.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Homeowners Face Insurance Increases Nationwide

May 17, 2012 5:40 am

The recently released 2011 HomeInsurance.com RateReport shows a considerable increase in average 12-month homeowners insurance premiums for new policies in December 2011. The data represents approximately 15,000 policies sold across the United States with such top-rated carriers as Travelers, Safeco, The Hartford, and ASI/Ark Royal.

The RateReport shows that 12-month home insurance premiums in December 2011 were $810 nationwide, a 19 percent increase from January 2011 at $682. RateReport shows that on a nationwide basis, homeowners are paying, on average, $128 more per year for new homeowners insurance policies than they were at the beginning of the year.

State-by-state premium increases were more dramatic in some areas including Mississippi, Montana and New Mexico where new policies in December 2011 were carrying roughly 29-39 percent higher premiums than those sold in January 2011.

"Rate fluctuations are normal and can be caused by a variety of factors," says Carlos Lagomarsino Founder of HomeInsurance.com. "The best thing homeowners can do is comparison shop and ask their agents to qualify them for all eligible discounts, such as a home-auto package, which can provide substantial savings."

With the overwhelming increases in 2011, there were some bright spots where policyholders saw lower rates toward the end of 2011 such as Washington D.C., where homeowners were paying about 7 percent less for new policies. Likewise, new policies sold in December 2011 in Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and California decreased in price as compared to earlier in the year when they were 1 to 3 percent higher.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Do Judge a City by Its Sandwich

May 15, 2012 5:38 am

It probably comes as no surprise that the most expensive club sandwich in America can be had in New York City. According to the Hotels.com Club Sandwich Index (CSI), the price of this classic sandwich serves as a universal measure of affordability for travelers thanks to its reputation as standard lunch fare among hotel restaurants worldwide since the 1800s.

The CSI average price has been calculated by taking the real prices paid by guests for a club sandwich within 1,000 five, four and three-star hotels located in popular travel destinations across 26 countries, with 10 U.S. cities measured.

"The CSI is a quirky way for travelers to estimate the cost of living in the destinations they are visiting for their vacations," explains Taylor L. Cole, director, public relations and social media, North America at Hotels.com. "The CSI is a fun metric which provides an average cost travelers can use to estimate lunch budgets for daily expenses away from home."

This standard lunch fare is known for its popularity among hotel restaurants worldwide where it has been a staple since the 1800s. Although the exact origin of the club sandwich has not been proven, popular myths point it to an exclusive gambling club in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where it became popular before spreading to the rest of the world.

The following top U.S. destinations are ranked here according to the average price of their club sandwich:
  • New York City $17
  • Orlando $15
  • San Francisco $14
  • Washington $14
  • Las Vegas $13
  • Chicago $12
  • Houston $12
  • New Orleans $12*
  • Los Angeles $11
  • San Diego $10
*Club sandwiches were very hard to find on New Orleans hotel restaurant menus; this price represents the average price of a Po'Boy.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Remodeling Homeowners Choosing Style Over Profit

May 15, 2012 5:38 am

Even as new and existing home sales and prices climb, homeowners are prioritizing aesthetics before profit, according to a recent Houzz & Home Survey. Houzz is a leading online platform for home design and remodeling, with more than four million unique users each month.

Among homeowners planning to build, remodel or decorate in the next two years, 86 percent cited "improving the look and feel of the space" as an important driver for remodeling projects, while only 47 percent cited "increasing home value." The gap between these priorities was consistent across all income levels and demographic groups.

Homeowners say they are more likely to cut back in other areas, such as vacations and other big-ticket purchases, than to delay or decrease the budget for their home improvement plans.

Seventy percent of respondents said they'd rather cut back elsewhere or do some of the work themselves than take out a loan to finance their home improvement. Even upscale homeowners are taking a hands-on approach to building, remodeling and decorating projects. The survey found that while 45 percent of homeowners at upper income levels ($150,000+) are choosing to hire an architect, interior designer, general contractor or another remodeling or decorating professional to complete a project in its entirety, an equal number of them are combining professional help and DIY efforts, a proportion only slightly smaller than the 49 percent taking this combination approach in lower income brackets.

Kitchens and bathrooms are the most popular remodeling projects among Houzz users, with 48 percent of respondents planning a bathroom remodel, and 45 percent redoing a kitchen in the next two years.

Other interesting findings from the survey include:
  • In the next two years, 72 percent of homeowners surveyed plan to decorate or redecorate, 40 percent plan to remodel or construct an addition, while 10 percent are planning to build a custom home.
  • 57 percent of Houzz homeowners planning to complete a project in the next two years will hire a general contractor, 35 percent a kitchen or bath professional and 32 percent will hire a carpet or flooring professional. Thirty percent are planning to hire an architect, 26 percent an interior designer and 24 percent a landscape architect or designer.
  • About half—52 percent—say they will save money by completing some projects themselves.
  • The largest projects in terms of average spend in the last five years were custom home builds ($577,000), complete home remodels ($193,000), pool additions or replacements ($34,000) and kitchen remodels ($25,000).
Source: Houzz.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Majority of Refinancing Borrowers Choose Fixed-Rate Mortgages

May 15, 2012 5:38 am

In the first quarter of 2012, fixed-rate loans accounted for more than 95 percent of refinance loans, based on the Freddie Mac Quarterly Product Transition Report released today. Refinancing borrowers clearly preferred fixed-rate loans, regardless of whether their original loan was an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) or a fixed-rate.

Of borrowers who refinanced during the first quarter of 2012, 31 percent reduced their loan term by paying off a 30-year loan and replacing it with a 20-year, 15-year, or other shorter-term loan. In addition, 66 percent of borrowers kept the same term as the loan that they had paid off.

Sixty-eight percent of borrowers who had a hybrid ARM chose a fixed-rate loan during the first quarter, the highest share since the first quarter of last year, while the remaining 32 percent chose to refinance into the same type of product.

According to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, "Fixed mortgage rates averaged 3.92 percent for 30-year loans and 3.19 percent for 15-year product during the first quarter in Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey ®, well below long-term averages.”

“For borrowers motivated to refinance by low fixed-rates, they could obtain even lower rates by shortening their term,” adds Nothaft. “Further, under the enhanced Home Affordable Refinance Program—HARP—announced by FHFA on October 24, 2011, certain risk-based fees are waived for HARP borrowers who refinance into shorter-term loans."

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:


Copyright© 2017 by  eWebEngine - A Division of Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies
Powered by Lone Wolf - Real Estate Technologies
Each RE/MAX office is independently owned and operated Equal Housing Opportunity
RE/MAX 440, PA
Agents Only