RE/MAX 440
Tim Lugara

Tim Lugara
423 North Main Street  Doylestown  PA 18901
Phone:  215-348-7100 1632
Office:  215-348-7100
Toll Free:  800-360-7100
Cell:  215-917-8673
Fax:  267-354-6961

Tim's Blog

Exercise Caution in Winter Months

February 13, 2015 5:00 am

With dangerously low temperatures continuing to impact much of the U.S. this winter, individuals and families must be safe when faced with the hazards of cold temperatures and winter weather, cautions the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“Subfreezing temperatures and wind chills can be dangerous and even life-threatening for people who don't take the proper precautions,” says Andrew Velasquez III, FEMA Regional Administrator. “It is important for everyone to monitor their local weather reports and take steps now to stay safe, whether traveling or at home, during times of extreme cold temperatures.”

During cold weather, take the following preventative measures:
  • Stay indoors as much as possible and limit your exposure to the cold.
  •  Dress in layers and keep dry.
  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk and may need additional assistance.
  • Know the symptoms of cold-related health issues such as frostbite and hypothermia and seek medical attention if health conditions are severe.
  • Bring your pets indoors or ensure they have a warm shelter area with unfrozen water.
  • Make sure your vehicle has an emergency kit that includes an ice scraper, blanket and flashlight – and keep the fuel tank above half full.
  • If you are told to stay off the roads, stay home. If you must drive, don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and stay on main roads.
Source: FEMA.gov

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Make Your New House Feel Like Home

February 13, 2015 5:00 am

(BPT) – We all know that moving into a new home can be one of life's biggest stressors - the packing, the paperwork, the unpacking and of course, finding the nearest coffee shop. Making your new house feel like home can help alleviate some of this stress and provide some much needed relaxation.

"Everyone has a different sense of what home is," says Elizabeth Lindmier of The Art Institute of Colorado. While the same aesthetic won't work for everyone, she recommends getting started with these tips.

1. Texture and textiles - Instead of having all hard surfaces, cozy up your home with something soft or textured. This could be a blanket, curtains or area rugs. These items will also provide some acoustical value so noises aren't echoing in an empty space.

2. Comfort - Have some place in your home where you can relax, recharge and feel at ease. "Make a space where you would like to spend time," Lindmier says.

3. Color - A monochromatic scheme with pops of colors can make you feel happy. "Do your research on color theory before painting any space," says Lindmier. "Different colors can spark different moods, emotions and even behavior. Discover what you'd like a given space to accomplish, and use colors as a tool to create such environment."

4. Lighting - Look at the difference between warm and cool lighting colors to decide what helps achieve the look you want. Consider using task, ambient and accent lighting for your space. "Lighting plays a key role in any home," Lindmier says. "Through lighting design you can highlight architectural features, create lighting which is more useful to the human eye, and work with natural light while keeping energy use to a minimum."

5. Clutter - "Less is more, but make it more meaningful," says Lindmier. Get rid of your clutter. When sitting in your space, make sure you can look around and love the things you see.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Recover from Identity Theft

February 12, 2015 5:00 am

Did you know that more than 13 million people were victims of identity fraud in the last year? (Javelin Strategy and Research) For those who’ve had their identity compromised, fear not: it is possible to recover. Credit reporting agency Equifax recommends:

Checking your credit reports and notifying all three credit reporting agencies about any discrepancies or activity you don't recognize.

Placing a fraud alert with any one of the three agencies, which will in turn notify the others.

Filing a police report and holding onto it for future reference.

Pausing, but not panicking. Work on staying grounded through times of stress.

Taking care of yourself and paying attention to your health.

Finding a support system, such as your family members, to stick by you as you rebuild your finances.

Keeping a detailed journal of any calls you make, letters you receive or other actions you take to resolve your claim.

Contacting a victim's assistance group to lead you through the process.

Seeking out counseling or seeing a professional if you need it.

Source: Equifax

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Get – and Stay – Organized at Home

February 12, 2015 5:00 am

(Family Features) Life can be hectic and clutter has a way of sneaking up on even the neatest of households. It may be due to all those shoes, a lack of space or time constraints, but whether you’re living in an apartment or in a sprawling house, everyone can benefit from better organization.

By thinking about storage differently and coming up with a smart system that works for you, you’ll be on your way to creating a well-balanced, happier home. Get – and stay – organized with these tips:

When starting the process:
If you’re just beginning, remember: baby steps. Focus on one small area or room, or even your junk drawer. Don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture. Finish smaller projects once you start; you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and be encouraged to tackle subsequent rooms and projects.

When in the middle of the process:
Stuck midway through an organizational project and need motivation to finish? Think of your project as a mini-makeover – this will make it seem more exciting and less of a chore. Try taking pictures along the way to document your progress and give yourself a boost.

When finished:
Keeping clutter at bay is a full-time job, so keep a watchful eye on areas that naturally accumulate items, such as entryways and child play areas. If you have children, get them involved in the organization process by teaching them where items belong and how to store them. Make it simple with labels on storage bins, basket and drawers.

Source: ClosetMaid

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Telltale Signs You're Ready to Move

February 12, 2015 5:00 am

Moving to a new home can be life-changing. The reasons for a move vary: you may have a growing family, you might be empty-nesting, or you may just need of a change of pace. But how do you know you’re really ready to move? Watch for these classic signs:

You’ve thought through the details. You’ve worked out the logistics – where you want to live, when you want to move, what kind of home you want – and feel confident about your decision.

Your family situation is changing. Shifting family dynamics may mean it’s time to either move-up or downsize. If your household spatial needs are changing, re-evaluate your current residence to determine whether it’s time for a new chapter.

You did your homework. Investing in a new home is not to be taken lightly. You’ve taken steps to align your finances with your goals – you’ve saved enough for a down payment, crunched numbers, kept tabs on interest rates and corrected any errors on your credit report.

You’re ready to make a dream come true. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to own a home in the suburbs. Or a waterfront property. Or a horse ranch. If you’re ready to transition to your ideal home, it may be time for a move.

Source: RISMedia’s Housecall

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Educating Children about Money Management

February 11, 2015 5:00 am

Discussing finances as adults can be uncomfortable, but talking to your children about money, budgeting and saving can be much more challenging. “School doesn’t teach responsible money habits to children,” says financial expert Caren Hendrie, “so it’s up to parents and families to change the money attitude. There needs to be a shift in the discussion topics for kids at the dinner table to cover themes about money, financial strategies and good spending habits.”

Hendrie recommends teaching financial responsibility to young ones by letting them make their own money decisions and consider consequences for those choices. When they’re older or start earning money, teach them to invest in their savings.

Other ways to educate children include:
  • Showing them how to calculate change by playing counting games. This skill will not only build their confidence when dealing with money, but also save them from being ripped off in the future.
  • Curbing their desires for instant gratification and retail therapy by making a savings plan. Help them recognize that earning money is much easier than saving it.
  • Explaining household expenses and budgeting when they want something unaffordable. If a child wants something priced out of your comfort level, offer a cheaper alternative or give them the option to make up the difference.
Source: Hendrie Group

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Limit Exposure to PCB-Containing Caulk

February 11, 2015 5:00 am

Caulk can be found in virtually every home. The flexible material seals gaps and joints to make them water and airtight. Some older caulks used in homes may contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), an additive that resists water and chemicals and can detrimental to health. This variation of caulking was primarily used in homes built between 1950 and 1980.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends testing for PCBs in peeling, cracking or deteriorating caulk in older structures. Exposure to PCBS can happen through direct contact with PCB-containing caulk and surrounding materials, as well as by breathing in contaminated air dust.

PCBs were also used in other building materials such as paints, mastics, sealants, adhesives, specialty coatings and fluorescent light ballasts. They can persist in old materials and contaminate surfaces, dust, soils and indoor air.

Source: EMSL

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Add Square Footage with a Finished Basement

February 11, 2015 5:00 am

(BPT) - Making the most of your basement doesn't have to mean costly contractors and expensive remodeling scenarios. Several easy DIY projects (with the aid of the right tools) can help you gain precious square footage. Ready to get started? Give these projects a try:

Build walls.
Use 2-by-4s to mark where the walls will stand and place studs 16 inches apart. Then nail the panels to the wall where the edges meet the studs and cover the seams with drywall tape. Once the walls are up, mud the seams and areas where nail pops appear. A drywall saw or power saw will help you shape your drywall perfectly, but if you don't own one, simply rent it. Don't forget to add drywall stands to your rental list.

Freshen up your floor.
If your basement is completely unfinished, you probably have cold, concrete floors. How you improve them is up to you, but if you want a polished, marbled look, rent concrete floor finishing equipment. If you’d rather have the appearance of hardwood, laminate flooring panels are inexpensive and easy to install. If you want the feel of carpet beneath your feet, don't forget to add the pad first.

Eliminate odors.
Dehumidifiers can help eliminate musty or stale odors in your basement. You can purchase one at your local home goods store and when you get it home, try to place it near the washtub sink if your basement has one. This will allow you to drain right into the sink and save you from having to empty the dehumidifier regularly.

Install a sump pump.

Don’t let water damage ruin all your hard work. A sump pump can protect against flooding issues. Most new homes have a location marked for a sump pump; it will look like a small well. Follow the water pipes in your home and you can find it. Once you do, purchase a sump pump from your local hardware store and install.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Homeowners Favor Contemporary, Shaker-Style Kitchens

February 10, 2015 5:00 am

According to the 2015 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends report from the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), contemporary is the watchword for kitchen design. More than half of designers expect to do more contemporary kitchens this year, running a close second behind transitional, or shaker-style, kitchens (40 percent) in terms of popularity.

Several designers also noted the rise in industrial chic, while others cited momentum for mid-century modern designs.

Traditional design ended 2014 as the fourth most popular kitchen style, although a quarter of designers will do fewer traditional kitchens in 2015. While decreasing in popularity, it remains a dominant kitchen style, with 63 percent of designers reporting that they did at least one traditional kitchen in 2014.

White is the most common color scheme for kitchens, followed by gray. About a third of respondents did black or blue kitchens in 2014, with about 20 percent expecting to do more kitchens in those colors. Almost 40 percent did kitchens in green tones in 2014.

Clearly passé are country/rustic, Tuscan and Provincial looks with distressed finishes, as well as color schemes in reds, bronzes, and terra cottas.

Solutions to make life easier in the kitchen are also slated for 2015. Pullouts and rollouts for kitchen cabinets were specified by more than 90 percent of NKBA respondents in 2014. Several designers report that they install multiples of appliances—most notably two dishwashers—in the same kitchen. About two-thirds of kitchens now have desks or home office areas, as well as flat-screen televisions and docking/charging stations.

Half of all NKBA designers specified an outdoor kitchen in 2014, up seven percentage points from 2013, a statistically significant increase.

Source: NKBA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Confused about Interest Rates? You're Not Alone

February 10, 2015 5:00 am

Mortgage holders: Do you know your interest rate? According to a recent Bankrate.com report, just over a third of mortgage borrowers (35 percent) aren’t completely sure of the interest rate they’re paying. One in seven mortgage holders reported being “not too confident,” “not all confident” or simply have no idea what their interest rates are.

“Your mortgage is one of the most important numbers in your financial life, and there’s a good chance that one of your neighbors has no idea regarding how much he or she is paying,” says Holden Lewis, senior mortgage analyst at Bankrate.com. “Given how far mortgage rates have fallen, these people could be missing substantial opportunities to save money by refinancing.”

Mortgage rates are well below historical norms. The average fixed-rate 30-year mortgage is now 3.80%. It was well above six percent as recently as 2008, and in 2000, it was close to eight percent. Refinancing a $200,000 loan from 6% to 3.80% would save $267 per month; refinancing from 8% to 3.80% would save $536 per month.

Analysts expect mortgage rates to rise in the coming months.

Source: Bankrate

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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