RE/MAX 440
Roxanne Christy
4092 Skippack Pike, P.O. Box 880
Skippack  PA 19474
 Phone: 610-584-1160
Office Phone: 610-584-1160
Cell: 267-252-0567
Fax: 267-354-6977 
rchristy@remax440.com
Roxanne Christy

My Blog

Looking to Invest in Real Estate? 10 Best Cities

October 7, 2016 2:27 am


Real estate is one of the best investments you can make, time and again named the most profitable avenue to accumulate wealth. Certain factors in your real estate venture, however—as with any investing strategy—can impact your bottom line.

The best locations currently to invest in real estate, based on indicators such as upward employment and home values, according to a recent survey by GOBankingRates.com, are:

1. Orlando, Fla.
Investors can expect to pay off a single-family home in Orlando in approximately 12 years and 4 months, as home values have increased 11 percent.

2. Tampa, Fla.
Investors can expect to pay off a single-family home in Tampa in approximately 9 years and 6 months, as home values have increased 11.6 percent.

3. Denver, Colo.
Investors can expect to pay off a single-family home in Denver in approximately 15 years and 1 month, as home values have increased 10.5 percent.

4. Seattle, Wash.
Investors can expect to pay off a single-family home in Seattle in approximately 19 years and 8 months, as home values have increased 16.7 percent.

5. Austin, Texas
Investors can expect to pay off a single-family home in Austin in approximately 18 years and 8 months, as home values have increased 9.3 percent.

6. Reno, Nev.
Investors can expect to pay off a single-family home in Reno in approximately 17 years and 1 month, as home values have increased 13.9 percent.

7. Dallas, Texas
Investors can expect to pay off a single-family home in Dallas in approximately 7 years and 9 months, as home values have increased 17.6 percent.

8. Portland, Ore.
Investors can expect to pay off a single-family home in Portland in approximately 18 years and 1 month, as home values have increased 20 percent.

9. Raleigh, N.C.
Investors can expect to pay off a single-family home in Raleigh in approximately 13 years and 3 months, as home values have increased 5.6 percent.

10. Miami, Fla.
Investors can expect to pay off a single-family home in Miami in approximately 9 years, as home values have increased 6.1 percent.

“Growing populations in the top 10 cities on our list are fueling the need for more housing,” said Cameron Huddleston, Life + Money columnist for GOBankingRates.com, in a statement on the survey. “That’s why these cities are such great places to own investment property now.”

Notably, three of the 10 best cities on GOBankingRates’ list are in Florida, and two are in Texas.

Source: GOBankingRates.com
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Bamboo: From Yard to Dinner Table

October 6, 2016 2:24 am


Bamboo is everywhere! From accents and flooring to landscapes and even meals, bamboo as a trend is growing—fast.

A recent casual search for bamboo housewares resulted in a trove of cool, unusual applications. One website, TotallyBamboo.com, offers a bamboo-crafted sink, durable and sealed with waterproof polyurethane, for $499.

Another online retailer, Bamboo-Innovations.com, offers a customizable arbor made of bamboo that can be used indoors or out. The DIY kit includes bamboo poles, dowels and rope.

There’s also the recent report at Inspiyr.com that touts the benefits of bamboo at the dinnertime. According to the report’s author, M.A. Caromano, the tender core inside bamboo can be boiled, offering 13 calories, two grams of protein and just a half a gram of fat per cup.

Bamboo shoots, Caromano states, provide 10 percent of the daily requirement of dietary fiber, which has been shown to aid digestion, enhance satiety and lower cholesterol. Bamboo also delivers 640 milligrams of potassium per serving, which studies suggest may help to lower blood pressure, according to Caromano.

Bamboo shoots contain lignans, as well, which could stave off bacteria, fungi and viruses, and phenolic acids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

From the yard to the dinner table…will you hop on the bamboo bandwagon?
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Weather Higher Hurricane Risk: 3 Steps

October 6, 2016 2:24 am


Hurricane season this year has developed more than expected, so much so that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently revised its projections, forecasting the potential for more storms. This higher risk for hurricanes affects those in and out of areas typically impacted by them, according to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Whether residents live on the coast or hundreds of miles inland, hurricanes and tropical storms pose significant risk,” says David Maurstad, assistant administrator for Federal Insurance at FEMA. “Recent flooding in Louisiana proves that it doesn’t take a hurricane to cause catastrophic damage. All it takes is heavy rain.”

FEMA, along with the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), remind residents in all areas of three steps:

1. Know Your Risk
Everyone—everyone—lives in a flood zone. Over 20 percent of flood insurance claims are from residents outside of high-risk zones, and, in just the last five years, every state in the U.S. has experienced flooding.

2. Have a Plan
Establish an emergency plan, including for pets, that ensures the safety of everyone in the household.

3. Get Insured
Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover floods, so obtaining separate flood insurance is essential. Bear in mind there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective.

“Residents should protect what matters by contacting their insurance agent to make sure they have the right amount and type of insurance, including flood insurance,” says Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president and chief communications officer for the I.I.I.

Salvatore recommends residents visit KnowYourStuff.org, or download the I.I.I.’s free app, to compile a home inventory—this will make the claims process much smoother. More information on flood insurance can be found at FloodSmart.gov.

Sources: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Money Doesn't Grow on Trees…but Home Value Does

October 6, 2016 2:24 am


(BPT)—Money doesn’t grow on trees…but home value does.

Planting a tree boosts property value, as well as the overall value of the neighborhood around it. In fact, research sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation’s Alliance for Community Trees reveals homebuyers pay an average 18 percent more for a house with trees in its yard, believing trees “define” their “neighborhood’s character.”

“The presence of trees in a neighborhood is as important to homebuyers as proximity to good schools, accessibility to shopping and entertainment, and commutability to work,” says Dana Karcher, Alliance for Community Trees program manager.

According to Karcher and the Alliance, mid-August through mid-October is the best time for those in northern, cooler areas to plant trees; those in southern areas can plant into November. The cool air, warm soil and wet weather at these times of year promote root growth, which is necessary before the ground freezes.

The best species to plant, according to the Alliance, are varieties that can withstand colder temperatures—ash, crabapple, elm, hawthorn, linden, maple, pine, spruce and sycamore are all ideal.

These species may be purveyed as “bare root,” or with exposed roots, “containerized and balled,” typically from nurseries, or “burlap,” or wrapped in burlap. The latter two—the container and the burlap—must be removed before planting; bare roots need only be soaked, according to the Alliance.

It may be beneficial to discuss planting trees with a local arborist or nursery. Tree care experts familiar with the growing conditions in your area will be best equipped to advise you on the types of trees to plant, as well as the window in which to plant them.

Source: Arbor Day Foundation (ArborDay.org)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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7 Stress Relievers That Really Work

October 5, 2016 2:24 am


Juggling family, work and obligations can be enough to stress anyone out in today’s hectic world. If you need a breather now and then, the Mayo Clinic suggests seven ways to slow down, regroup and refocus:

1. Exercise – A quick jog in the midst of a chaotic day—or even a brisk walk around the block—can get feel-good endorphins going.

2. Connect – Your stress instinct may be to wrap yourself in a cocoon. Instead, reach out to family and friends—doing so can offer distraction and provide support.

3. Meditate – Close your eyes for a few minutes—visualizing places you enjoy can help quiet the competing thoughts crowding your mind and causing stress.

4. Journal – Writing down your thoughts can help release pent-up emotion. Don't think about what to write — just let it happen. Don't worry about grammar or spelling, either!

5. Flex – Try yoga—just 10 minutes of controlled poses can help you slow down and relax. Take a class, or research online for some guidance to get started.

6. Listen – Listening to (or playing) music is a stress reliever because it decreases stress hormones and reduces muscle tension. Set aside 15 minutes or so and let your mind absorb it.

7. Laugh – Laughter fires up and then cools down your stress response. Get the giggles in by hanging out with friends in the break room, reading a few jokes (or telling some!), or watching a half-hour comedy.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Fall Lawn Care: 5 Tips from 5 Experts

October 5, 2016 2:24 am


Weekend-in and weekend-out, we’ve spent our summer keeping up with lawn care. No wonder most of us let it fall by the wayside come the change of season!

The fact is, neglecting your lawn in fall can undo all of that hard work from summer. Fall, according to Bryan Ostlund, executive director of Grass Seed USA, is when grass fortifies its reserves for winter, making maintenance during this time essential.

“Lawn care begins to change in the fall as your lawn tries to take in as much nutrients and moisture as it can in preparation for the dormant winter months ahead,” explains Ostlund. “Simple lawn care chores such as reseeding, weeding, aerating and fertilizing help a lawn immensely and show nearly immediate results come spring.”

These to-dos, Ostlund says, come from seven subject matter experts:

1. “Fall is a great time to seed! Lawns with poor density or bare areas will become infested with weeds if you do not add more turf grass. I would suggest a mixture containing perennial ryegrass for quick germination.” – Oregon State University Assistant Professor and Turf Specialist Alec Kowalewski

2. “It is important to purchase quality grass seed. Make sure the seed was tested in the last six months and check that the germination rate is 85 percent or better.” – University of Arkansas Associate Professor of Turfgrass Science Douglas Karcher

3. “Soil temperatures need to be greater than 60 degrees for good germination, so it is generally better to seed a bit early than later.” – North Carolina State University Professor of Turfgrass Sceience Grady Miller

4. “Have your soil tested. A soil analysis is inexpensive and provides important information about nutrient levels and soil type. Liming, fertilizing and seed selection may all depend on the results of a soil analysis.” – University of Tennessee Assistant Dean for College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources John C. Stier

5. “Start fertilizing grass to promote recovery and growth. Approximately 75 percent of the annual fertilization of the grass should be applied throughout the fall to extend the green color period and reduce dormancy of the grass.” – Texas Tech University Assistant Professor Joseph Young

For more from these experts and others, visit www.WeSeedAmerica.com/Lawn-Winterization-Tips.

Source: Grass Seed USA (WeSeedAmerica.com)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Mom, Me and Junior: Insuring a Multigenerational Household

October 5, 2016 2:24 am


American households today are poles apart from those in recent years, as living arrangements continue shifting to accommodate adult children, aging parents, and the generation between them. This change, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), can impact your insurance needs.

“Longer life spans, decisions to marry later and the tight job market have forced many middle-aged adults to share their homes with family members across generations,” explains John M. Huff, president of the NAIC. “When there is an increased headcount under your roof, there are likely new insurance implications.”

Huff and the NAIC point to an “empty nest reversal” trend, in which baby boomers (and some in Generation X) have become responsible for housing an adult child and an aging parent—an arrangement that may require changes to insurance coverage.

In the case of adult children (“boomerang kids”), communicating expectations is essential, especially because housing an adult child can be costly. Some questions to consider, according to the NAIC:

• Will the adult child be solely responsible for health insurance?

• Will the adult child’s driving record result in a higher automotive insurance premium? Will the adult child be responsible for the additional cost?

• Will the adult child’s big-ticket items (e.g., electronics) result in a higher homeowners insurance premium? Will the adult child be responsible for the additional cost?

Moving in aging parents also requires consideration. According to the NAIC, questions to ask include:

• Is the aging parent covered by Medicare?

• Is the aging parent current on insurance premium payments (including those for life insurance, if applicable)?

• Is the aging parent in need of long-term care insurance?

These questions, though at times unsettling, can help you as a homeowner in a multigenerational arrangement obtain insurance coverage that aligns with the needs of your household. If you anticipate moving in an adult child or aging parent in the future, keep these questions in mind as you prepare for the change.

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Weddings Get Social

October 4, 2016 2:21 am


Brides are using social media more than ever to announce their engagement, discover new ideas, connect with vendors, share moments throughout their wedding planning journey, and post their honeymoon experiences, according to a survey by The Knot.

First Comes the Ring…Then Comes the Post
Three out of five brides surveyed reported announcing their engagement on social media within the first 24 hours of saying "yes," and 86 percent shared their news within the first week. Sixty-two percent reported increasing their social media usage after their engagement, with seven out of 10 admitting to using social media for wedding planning more than anything else. The top three social media channels used during wedding planning are Pinterest (89 percent), Instagram (38 percent) and Facebook (38 percent).

Hashtagging the Big Day
Once the word is out, couples focus on creating a personalized wedding hashtag to share photos leading up to and throughout the wedding day. Sixty-six percent of couples (up 11 percent from 2014) plan on using or have used a personalized hashtag in conjunction with their wedding.

Snapping the Ceremony
Only 30 percent of brides surveyed reported being aware they could create and purchase a custom Snapchat geofilter for their wedding day and wedding-related events, but of those, 44 percent actually created one and used it. An additional 30 percent are considering it for their upcoming nuptials.

Leave It to the Guests…to Share Photos
Couples are leaving the posting to guests on the wedding day—three out of four couples (74 percent) reported wanting to be disconnected from social media on the big day.

Social Media Love on the Honeymoon
Seventy percent of brides surveyed admitted to sharing about their nuptials on social media within 24 hours of the wedding, and 70 percent reported posting throughout their honeymoon.

Source: The Knot
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Incentives Help Homeowners Go Solar

October 4, 2016 2:21 am


Solar energy is economical, effective and efficient—and solar incentives today, according to a recently released report, make it even easier to adopt.

The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA)’s “Incentivizing Solar Energy: An In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Solar Incentives” is a comprehensive quantification of solar incentives that analyzes the cost for a typical solar facility in 15 states. The publication also details the federal, state, and local incentives available for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

In many states, the incentives collectively exceed the total cost of installing a solar PV facility, particularly for third party-owned (TPO) facilities, according to the report. When a homeowner leases a solar PV facility (or purchases its energy output through a long-term contract), the TPO receives the federal ITC and 5-year accelerated depreciation, based on the fair market value of the facility, rather than its installed cost.

Balancing cost versus return continues to be a challenge, the report cautions—the non-incentivized cost of producing a kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy with residential solar PV is much higher than the non-incentivized cost of producing a kWh of energy with a large-scale solar PV; consequently, incentivizing residential solar PV may not be as economical as it should be.

For example, net metering programs, which pay homeowners with solar PV systems high rates for their excess electricity production, shift fixed utility infrastructure costs onto non-solar homeowners, who are typically less affluent than those with a solar PV system.

Still, on a dollar-per-kWh basis, even the least-incentivizing package exceeds the incentives provided for large-scale solar PV projects, the report shows.

More information on the incentives can be found at SolarEnergyFuture.org.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Mud Rooms, Offices Rank High for Homeowners

October 4, 2016 2:21 am


A mud room and an office come in at the top of homeowners’ wish lists—and a gym and a movie theater have dropped off it, according to the recently released American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey.

“Heavy investment in outdoor living spaces, mud rooms and home offices indicate that consumers are placing a premium on practicality and functionality,” said Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist, in a statement on the survey. “Things have changed a lot from a decade ago, when home theaters and exercise rooms were some of the most popular ‘special function’ rooms in homes.”

In addition to a mud room, an office and outdoor living space, homeowners are remodeling for a designated guest room (e.g., an Au Pair or in-law suite) and a sun room or three-season porch, according to the survey.

Remodeling for accessibility is also common, though somewhat less so as more new homes are being designed to accommodate “aging in place.” Popular accessibility projects, the survey found, include adding a first-floor master bedroom, an elevator and handles.

“Although accessibility features remain an important issue to homeowners, demand for some of these features has leveled off in the custom residential arena,” Baker said. “As more homes become equipped to handle an aging population of homeowners, less custom work needs to be done to address specific accessibility issues.”

Automated features are in-demand, as well, some with the dual benefit of convenience and energy efficiency. Up-and-coming features that homeowners have begun to request, the survey found, include an air purification system, a backup power generator, an electrical car docking station, solar panels and “super” insulation.

Source: American Institute of Architects (AIA)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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