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Tina Guerrieri

Tina Guerrieri
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  267-250-7649
Office:  215-643-3200
Fax:  267-354-6913

My Blog

Identity Theft, Imposter Scams Top List of FTC Complaints

March 11, 2015 1:51 am

Records from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) show that identity theft was the top complaint among consumers in 2014, continuing a 15-year trend reflected in widespread data breaches last year.

Complaints regarding imposter scams increased significantly, surpassing prize, sweepstake and lottery and auto-related complaints to become the third most frequently reported issue. Complaints of imposter scams, in which con artists impersonate government officials or others, increased dramatically, particularly for IRS-related schemes.

Aside from guarding against identity theft and imposter scams, consumers should remain vigilant when it comes to debt collection and shop-at-home and catalog sales, which also comprised the majority of complaints last year.

Source: FTC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Thawing Temps Can Lead to Water Damage at Home

March 11, 2015 1:51 am

While most of us are anxious to emerge from our self-induced hibernation for warmer spring temperatures, thousands of homeowners will be facing floods and property damage as a result of ice dams. Homeowners should look for the telltale warning signs of ice dams, such as sheets of ice along shingles and icicles along the edge of eaves, and check the attic for frost accumulation.

Ice dams are partly the result of heat that escapes from inside a home into the attic, which then warms the roof during the winter months. When combined with the sun and fluctuating temperatures, this causes the snow on the roof to partially melt and then accumulate at the edge of the roof or overhang. Once eaves are full, the ice begins to expand under the shingles, causing them to separate.

Before this ice melts, homeowners are urged to call a certified roofing professional. Homeowners that take the unnecessary safety risk of trying to remove ice dams themselves can only remove the superficial ice, and end up causing far more damage to the shingles and eaves.

To prevent ice dams entirely, have a roofing inspection to ensure your attic is well ventilated. If the attic is cold, there will be less melting and refreezing on the roof. Ensure your attic is properly insulated in addition to the attic floor to minimize heat from rising from the house and causing snow to melt, which will reduce the risk of dangerous mold. Install an ice and water shield membrane under your roof covering at least six feet from the eaves line, and remove leaves from eaves regularly so melting snow and ice can flow.

Source: Integrity Roofers

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Seven Costly Mistakes New Homeowners Make

March 11, 2015 1:51 am

Owning a home for the first time is exciting, but that excitement can fade quickly if faced with extensive (and expensive) damage. New homeowners often inadvertently cause damage that can cost thousands of dollars or more in repairs.

The Home Book authors David MacLellan, George Wolfson and Douglas Hansen recommend steering clear of these common first-time homeowner mistakes.

1. Overloading Upper Cabinets in Kitchen

Avoid stacking heavy dishes in an upper cabinet, which is only supported by the wall behind it. Shelves may begin to sag if the cabinet struggles to bear the weight. At worst, your cabinet can detach from the wall completely.

2. Using Attic or Garage Trusses as Storage

Despite many homeowners doing otherwise, storing items on top of garage or attic trusses can lead to sagging, increasing the possibility that the roof may collapse. If you truly need the additional space, consult a structural engineer who can advise you as to the best course of action.

3. Tinting Dual-Pane Windows


Many new homes have dual-pane windows, which help insulate a home by sealing ‘dead air’ between two panes. Tinting can disrupt the reflection of the sun’s rays, trapping hot air in the dead air space. Heat can cause the elastic seal to rupture, eliminating insulation.

4. Disconnecting Bathroom and Laundry Vent Fans


The noise may bother you, but disconnecting a bathroom or laundry vent fan can increase water vapor, adversely affecting drywall and electrical outlets and leading to damages from dry rot, mold and mildew. Turn the fan on during each use of the room.

5. Irrigating against the Home

When installing an irrigation system, ensure that irrigation spouts spray away from the home and add-on structures. It seems like a no-brainer, but it can happen in places where you least expect it, including the posts of an overhead deck.

6. Altering Finished Grades

If you’d like to install a walkway, patio, drainage system or even a pool, make certain that your contractor doesn’t just pour concrete over the existing finished grade. Doing so can result in water flow towards the home, which can cause the foundation to shift. A shifting foundation can lead to both interior and exterior damage – a costly, and preventable, repair.

7. Improperly Installing Add-on Structures

Before installing any structure, such as a trellis, sun screen or lanai, check with your municipality for any building codes that may apply to your situation. Do not nail or bolt the structure directly the exterior wall. Homeowners who do so run the risk of dry rot from rainwater collection.

Source: RISMedia’s Housecall

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Favorable Economic Outlook Peaks Since Recession

March 10, 2015 1:24 am

More than a third of consumers have a favorable view of the economy — the highest rate measured following the Great Recession, according to a recent LIMRA survey of Americans. The study also found for the first time since October 2008, consumers with a negative view of the economy are in the minority.

“Consumer sentiment on the economy tends to be seasonal – it’s not uncommon for us to see a boost at the start of each New Year,” said Jennifer Douglas, associate research director, LIMRA Developmental and Strategic Research. “To a greater extent, the strong equity markets, labor market, and low gas prices are likely to have prompted a sense of personal financial well-being, influencing their opinion of the broad economy.”

The quarterly study also tracks consumer confidence in various sectors of the financial services industry. The survey revealed that consumers show increasing confidence in the financial sectors.

“While confidence levels aren’t where they were prior to the Great Recession, the financial services industry is slowly earning back the trust and confidence of the American people,” noted Douglas.

Source: LIMRA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Correcting Credit Report Errors Just Got Easier

March 10, 2015 1:24 am

All three credit reporting bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian – will take part in a plan to minimize errors on credit reports, the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) reports. The program, dubbed the National Consumer Assistance Plan, will enhance their ability to collect complete and accurate consumer information and will provide consumers more transparency and a better experience interacting with credit bureaus about their credit reports.

“While we are pleased that the most recent comprehensive study by the Federal Trade Commission showed that credit reports are materially accurate 98 percent of the time, we are always looking for ways to improve our procedures, and this consumer assistance plan will allow us to do that,” said Stuart Pratt, President and CEO, CIDA. “While all three nationwide credit bureaus have been and continue to operate in compliance with the applicable federal and state laws, we have never hesitated to go beyond the letter of the law to voluntarily improve the existing credit reporting environment.”

Here’s what consumers can expect under the National Consumer Assistance Plan:
  • Consumers visiting www.annualcreditreport.com, the website that allows consumers to obtain a free credit report once a year, will see expanded educational material.
  • Consumers who obtain their free annual credit report and dispute information resulting in modification of the disputed item will be able to obtain another free annual report without waiting a year.
  • Consumers who dispute items on their credit reports will receive additional information from the credit bureaus along with the results of their dispute, including a description of what they can do if they are not satisfied with the outcome of their dispute.
  • The credit rating agencies (CRAs) are focusing on an enhanced dispute resolution process for consumers that are proven victims of identity theft and fraud, as well as those involved in mixed file situations.
Implementation of the consumer assistance plan will begin over the next few months.

Source: CDIA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Outdoor Living: 4 Hot Trends

March 10, 2015 1:24 am

(Family Features) Inspired by neighbors, home improvement shows and social media channels like Pinterest and Houzz, today's homeowners are entering the deck planning and building process more informed than ever before. But sorting through this wealth of information and inspiration can make it hard to decipher what's really hot for today's outdoor spaces -- and to choose what's right for your home.

Surveying the wide variety of options is the first step in deciding how you'll approach designing your outdoor space. Start by considering some of the top influences expected to dominate the outdoor living landscape this season, according to decking and railing manufacturer Trex Company.

Designing Outside the Box
Gone are the days of simple squared-off decks and basic slab patios. Regardless of the size of the yard – or budget – homeowners today are thinking and building beyond the basic square space. Remodelers and architects report increased interest from customers in decks with multiple levels, curves, cantilevers, pergolas and even walls to create three-dimensional interest and define different functional areas.

Bringing the Indoors Out

The lines between indoors and out will continue to blur as homeowners look to extend the style, comfort and function of their interior spaces to their outdoor living areas. More and more indoor activities are migrating outside with the addition of features such as outdoor kitchens, dining nooks and fireplaces. Demand is also up for features like integrated benches with cushions and accent pillows, storage components and lighting, along with accessories such as ornamental post caps and railing with decorative balusters similar to those found inside the home.

Tropical Staycations

From New England to Southern California, the look of the tropics will dominate as a top outdoor design scheme. Materials that evoke the ambiance of an exotic island getaway are all the rage, from tiki torches, cabanas and waterfalls to deck boards featuring warm colors and multi-colored streaking inspired by tropical hardwoods.

High Performance, Low Maintenance
While aesthetics drive many deck-building decisions, performance is just as important. Increasingly, homeowners are seeking high-performance, low maintenance materials that allow them to spend more time enjoying their outdoor living space than maintaining it. This motivation has contributed to the continued innovation and popularity of composite decking and railing.

Source: Trex

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Shopping for a Car in a Connected World

March 9, 2015 1:24 am

The emergence of online and mobile resources has made it easier than ever to shop for a car, but there are still many shoppers who are prone to making some of the same old mistakes. Online car shopping leader Edmunds.com has identified the five most outdated car shopping tactics and their modern solutions:

Old Concept #1: Relying only on the dealership to build the deal and crunch the numbers.

New Solution:
Does the monthly payment for the car fall within your budget? Not sure if you're better off taking a low-APR or cash incentive? Want to know how much money you will or will not save by trading in your gas guzzler for a hybrid? Having a calculator at your fingertips and crunching the numbers along with the salesperson can help you better understand the deal and feel more confident.

Old Concept #2: Working only with the first salesperson that greets you or picks up the phone.

New Solution: There are several consumer review sites where shoppers leave feedback about their positive and negative experience. Before heading to the dealership, you can read through these reviews and identify a salesperson who delivers a consistently great experience, and then make an appointment with him or her.

Old Concept #3: Not asking questions because you're worried about looking weak or uninformed.

New Solution:
Dealers recognize the value of making you feel good about a deal, so a thoughtful salesperson will answer any question, no matter how ridiculous you might think it is. But if you're still wondering, it's easy to quickly research your question through a third-party resource on your mobile device.

Old Concept #4: Making a deal only when you're at the dealership.

New Solution:
Dealerships typically have an online process that lets you negotiate a price and make a deal remotely. That's a huge stress reliever for those of us who hate negotiating face to face.

Old Concept #5: Relying on your gut to arrive at your car's trade-in value.

New Solution:
If you're planning to trade in your old car, be sure to look up its value on your own. Be sure to print out the details and bring them with you to the dealership. Keep an objective eye; you may think your car is in "good" condition when "fair" might be a more accurate label.

Source: Edmunds.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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A Lush Lawn in 4 Easy Steps

March 9, 2015 1:24 am

(Family Features) Want to get the best out of your lawn this year? Implement these simple hacks to keep your lawn green and growing, your equipment up and running, and your yard looking great.

1. Feed your lawn. In order to maintain a healthy lawn, you should fertilize twice a year. Start the process one month after the lawn starts growing in the spring, and one month before the lawn goes dormant in the fall. Spring fertilization is imperative, as it replenishes nutrient reserves that have been used up during the first growth spurt of the season. Avoid "burning" the lawn by only fertilizing at the recommended rate and ratio for your lawn. Check with the experts at your local lawn care supply store to choose the correct dose.

2. Perform mower checkups. A properly running mower is essential to keeping your lawn looking great. Make sure it's ready for every mow by incorporating these maintenance tips into your routine:
  • Change your mower oil. This should be done every 25 hours of use for a walk-behind mower, which is once a year for most users. For a lawn tractor, change the oil every 50 hours.
  • Keep your mower clean. Brush away grass clippings from the cooling fans and keep air intake screens clear so air can pass through. Make sure that all safety shields are in place to protect you and your family.
  • Sharpen your blade. A dull blade will split grass blades, leaving them susceptible to disease. Sharpen the blade to about one sixty-fourth of an inch for a clean cut. Also, be sure the blade is balanced to ensure an even cut.
3. Mulch instead of bag. Mulching while you mow leaves a thin layer of grass clippings on the lawn. These clippings gradually break down to provide additional nitrogen to the lawn. This provides a natural fertilizer throughout the mowing season. Look for mowers with specifically designed mulching mower decks and blades that cut clippings into tiny pieces, returning them to the turf.

4. Do more with your mower. You can now do more than ever with your tractor by adding implements to help complete yard tasks more quickly, and enjoy some rest and relaxation on the weekend. Use utility carts for hauling, spreaders for applying fertilizer, aerators to renew the soil, or even a snow blower attachment to remove the snow from your driveway.

Source: John Deere

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Dos and Don'ts of Winter Home Selling

March 9, 2015 1:24 am

When it comes to selling your home, first impressions matter. According to the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB), it’s critical to put your best foot forward when putting your home on the market.

The NAMB outlines these dos and don’ts for preparing your home for sale.

Do:


Consider curb appeal. “Curb appeal is a huge draw for buyers,” says Don Frommeyer, CEO, NAMB. “If you live in a cold state, consider creating a winter planter with cold-weather plants like winter berry holly or noble fir. At the very least, invest in a new doormat and keep the driveway clear of ice and snow. Warm lights glowing in the window will also be welcoming.”

Invest in updates that matter. “People will pay top-dollar for homes with updated kitchens and bathrooms,” says Frommeyer. “If you can make even the barest improvements to these rooms, you will see a huge return. Update the yellowing tile in the bathroom or invest in new cabinetry. At the very least, purchase new shower curtains, bath rugs, and the like.”

Keep it bright. “Open all the curtains, turn on all the lights, even if it is in the afternoon,” says Frommeyer. “Replace all dead light bulbs. Crack open doors to the pantry or laundry room so people won’t be afraid to peek inside. And tidy up in forgotten places like inside the fridge or oven…people will be looking in there, and if they see mold or burnt food, they will be very turned off.”

Don’t:

Overdo it on the heat. “People tend to overcompensate when they know that potential buyers are coming to look at their home in the winter time. They crank up the heat to make the place warm and welcoming,” says Frommeyer. “But that can backfire. The air will be dry and stale, plus the buyers will probably be too warm as they will be bundled up in coats. So keep the heat at a reasonable setting and have your humidifier set between 40-60 percent.”

Expect people to use their imagination. “If you have a crazy color choice in one (or more) of your rooms, you might think that people will look past that,” says Frommeyer. “But that can prove difficult for buyers. Garish paint and wacky décor choices will make them uneasy, no matter how beautiful your home is underneath your collection of animal heads. Paint over those wild colors and put away any crazy items that might garner a laugh or a raised brow.”

Source: NAMB

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Cheap Superfoods to Fuel Your Health and Outlook

March 6, 2015 1:21 am

People who resolve to eat healthy are sometimes more than a little dismayed at the high price of nutrition. Vitamins and supplements are not cheap, and a pre-made salad can cost more than a candy bar or a bag of chips.

Researchers at onegreenplanet.org, an online lifestyle platform with a goal of helping people, animals and the planet, recommend seven (relatively) cheap superfoods that are far more valuable to our health and wellbeing than what they cost at the checkstand:

Spinach – Rich in calcium, folic acid, fiber and iron as well as vitamins C and K, this leafy green is cheaper than kale and can strengthen your bones, prevent disease and protect against age-related memory loss. Wash and cook it or chop into salad for an inexpensive health boost.

Strawberries – Called ‘heart berries’ by some native American tribes, the little fruits are full of phenols and other antioxidants that protect the organs by defending cell membranes. They offer heart boosters, cancer protection and anti-inflammatory compounds. Eat them out of hand or in cereal, salad, yogurt or smoothies.

Quinoa – Full of protein, this pseudo-grain contains very high levels of protein and fiber. Cook some up to serve with stir-fry dishes or fold into burgers, veggie burgers or muffins.

Bananas – They get a bad rap as carbohydrate-dense, but bananas are a proven potassium-rich superfood. Slice them onto cereal, eat them out of hand or mash them into quick breads or smoothies.

Sweet potatoes – The orange tubers are brimming with beta carotene, which raises vitamin A levels in the blood to help prevent colds, flu and certain eye disorders . Bake them, mash them or cut them into French fries and roast them with a bit of olive oil and salt.

Coconut oil – Speaking of oil, in some kitchens that drizzle of olive oil is being replaced by coconut oil. Packed with immunity, brain, and skin-revitalizing properties, coconut oil is becoming all the rage as the superfood it really is.

Himalayan pink sea salt – And speaking of salt, this superfood contains high doses of calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron, which aid the body in processing sodium chloride and maintaining an optimum electrolyte balance. It will cost more than regular iodized salt, but the health boost is disproportionately higher.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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