RE/MAX 440
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

Study: Homeowners Save Most When Combining Insurance

October 11, 2016 12:45 am


Insurance providers often offer discounts to incentivize policyholders to bundle insurance. The savings depend on the type of insurance being combined, as well as the state the policyholder lives in, according to a recently released study by insuranceQuotes.

“Discounts for bundling auto and home, condo or renters insurance vary by state, and can help many consumers save more than $500 per year,” said Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst for insuranceQuotes, in a statement on the study. “Combining policies with the same insurer is a simple and easy way to reduce premiums.”

Policyholders who bundle auto and homeowners insurance reap the most savings at an average $314 per year, according to the study. Homeowners policies are more expensive than those for condo owners or renters, so the savings are more substantial.

The states with the highest average savings are:

1. Louisiana ($584/year)
2. Oklahoma ($541)
3. Texas ($473)
4. Kansas ($444)
5. Mississippi ($430)
6. Arkansas ($421)
7. Minnesota ($418)
8. Alabama and Missouri ($414)
9. Nebraska ($395)
10. Illinois ($392)

In some cases, however, bundling does not maximize savings, Adams cautioned. It is important to shop around for policies, even if they are from different insurance providers.

“Combining policies usually saves money; however, there are scenarios when using separate providers could be a better option,” said Adams. “Always compare quotes both bundled and unbundled.”

Source: insuranceQuotes
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Rents to Keep Rising in 2017

October 11, 2016 12:45 am


Rents are expected to increase 1.7 percent in 2017, according to the latest Zillow® Rent Forecast, with the highest increases anticipated in markets in the West—Seattle, Portland and Denver. The projected increase, though slowing, could give reason for renters to make the transition to homeownership.

“We have more renters today than in the past, and most newly formed households are renter households,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “This taken together with a lack of new rental construction at less expensive price points has been a recipe for rising rents."

Zillow’s forecast predicts rents will rise most rapidly in:

1. Seattle, Wash. – 7.2 percent
Median Rent: $2,067

2. Portland, Ore. – 6.0 percent
Median Rent: $1,777

3. Denver, Colo. – 5.9 percent
Median Rent: $2,013

4. Cincinnati, Ohio – 5.2 percent
Median Rent: $1, 239

5. San Francisco, Calif. – 4.9 percent
Median Rent: $3,406

6. Los Angeles, Calif. – 4.8 percent
Median Rent: $2,593

7. Sacramento and San Diego, Calif. – 4.7 percent
Median Rent (Sacramento): $1,681
Median Rent (San Diego): $2,427

8. Phoenix, Ariz. – 4.6 percent
Median Rent: $1,297

9. San Jose, Calif. – 4.5 percent
Median Rent: $3,517

10. Boston, Mass. – 3.9 percent
Median Rent: $2,310

“There is good news for renters on the horizon, though,” Gudell adds. “Current renters in these markets can expect rents to slow down a bit over the next year. Instead of the 10 percent rental appreciation we’ve been seeing in some places, expect growth more along the lines of 4 to 7 percent. This is still high, but will hopefully give renters some relief.”

Source: Zillow®
 

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Retirement Playbook: Lessons from Investors of Every Age

October 10, 2016 12:42 am


A startling proportion of Generation X workers are worried about investing for retirement, according to a recently released survey—but most of their anxiety can be curtailed by examining lessons learned by others.

One such lesson, based on responses to the survey, conducted by Capital Group, is gleaned from both baby boomer and millennial investors: limit losses during downswings.

“Every generation is interested in achieving better investment outcomes over time and limiting losses in market downturns, combined with low fees,” says Heather Lord, senior vice president and head of Strategy and Innovation at Capital Group.

Lesson two? Don’t settle for average gains. The baby boomer and millennial investors surveyed understood that a diversified portfolio can reap above-average results; however, not all grasped how to develop one.

“Each generation has blind spots around index funds, which experience the full downside of market drops,” Lord says. “Baby boomers, especially, are unaware of those risks—and they're the ones with less time to rebuild their nest eggs from a market downturn.”

Only half of the investors surveyed were aware that passive index funds expose them to the full impact of market volatility, and even fewer recognized the heightened risk of index funds as an older investor. Two out of three of the investors surveyed were unaware that low fees are a factor in determining the viability of a fund, as well as “high manager ownership,” or the amount fund managers invest in the funds they manage.

Lesson three: take saving seriously. According to the results of the survey, more than half of millennials began saving for retirement before age 25. (Markedly, one-quarter of them also believed children born today should start saving for retirement before their eighteenth birthday.)

The takeaway overall? A long-term investment strategy—a “buy-and-hold mindset”—is best.

“After experiencing the dot-com bust, the global financial crisis and the housing collapse, as well as stagnant wage growth during their formative adult years, Gen Xers—or ‘Generation AnXious’—are wary about their financial future,” says Lord. “Perhaps because of these concerns, Gen Xers long to do better than the average market, and say actively managed funds can help them reach these goals.”

Source: Capital Group Companies
 

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How Fit Is Your City?

October 10, 2016 12:42 am


There are many factors to take into consideration when sizing up the overall fitness level in your area, such as gyms, healthy dining establishments and parks. A recent study from Fitbit, makers of the wildly popular fitness tracker, has determined an area’s level of fitness based on stats from its more than 10 million users.

According to a recent blog by the company, researchers analyzed user data to determine which cities ranked the highest overall based on average number of steps, active minutes, resting heart rate and sleep duration—all tracked by the device. The top 10 fittest cities in America, according to the results:

1. Madison, Wis.
2. Minneapolis, Minn.
3. Spokane, Wash.
4. Boston, Mass.
5. Portland, Ore.
6. Grand Rapids, Mich.
7. Lincoln, Neb.
8. San Francisco, Calif.
9. Seattle, Wash.
10. Washington D.C.

Honorable mentions include: New York, N.Y., the city with the most steps and highest number of active minutes; Boston, Mass., the city with the lowest resting heart rate; and Spokane, Wash., the city that gets the most sleep.

Source: Fitbit
 

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Millennial Homebuyers: 10 Zip Codes to Consider

October 10, 2016 12:42 am


Like moths to a flame.

The hottest zip codes in the nation are drawing scores of millennials in search of employment opportunities, according to a recently released report by realtor.com®, making them magnets for other types of buyers, as well.

The report ranked the top 10 hottest zip codes based on viewings and days-on-market—the latter averaging 25 days.

1. Watauga, Texas (76148)
2. Pleasant Hill, Calif. (94523)
3. Northglenn, Colo. (80233)
4. Colorado Springs, Colo. (80916)
5. San Antonio, Texas (78247)
6. Petaluma, Calif. (94954)
7. Melrose, Mass. (02176)
8. Crestwood, Mo. (63126)
9. Milwaukie, Ore. (97222)
10. North Park, Calif. (92104)

“Homes for sale in this year's hottest zip codes are selling almost as quickly as they hit the market,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com®. “While millennials are usually a significant presence in most markets, their sheer size and buying power have made them a force to be reckoned with in these hot zip codes and given them the power to shift supply and demand dynamics.”

Collectively, these zip codes are experiencing an average employment growth rate of 2.3 percent, which is 35 percent higher than the current national rate. The ranking underscores the role millennials play in the “hotness” factor, according to realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com®
 

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Stop, Think, Connect: Cyber Security Tips

October 7, 2016 2:27 am


Every internet user agrees: cyber security is a must.

“As every one of us, our families and our communities become increasingly connected, it becomes even more critical to practice good cyber security habits,” says Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). “A recent NCSA/Microsoft survey of 13- to 17-year-old teens, and parents of 13- to 17 year olds, revealed a strong interest in securing personal information.”

Kaiser and the NCSA have answered that call through the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ initiative, which has educated internet users on cyber security for over a decade. The campaign’s tips include:

Lock down your login. Enable the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, one-time codes or security keys—usernames and passwords are not enough to protect banking, email and social media accounts.

Keep a clean machine. Keep all software on internet-connected devices, including computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets, up to date.

Own your online presence. Set the privacy and security settings on websites and apps to a level you’re comfortable with. Remember: it's okay to limit how and with whom you share information.

Protect personal information. Information about you, such as purchase history or location, has value, just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it's collected by apps and websites.

Share with care. Think before posting about yourself or others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it and how it could be perceived now and in the future.

When it doubt, throw it out. Cybercriminals often use links in email, social posts and texts to try to obtain personal information. If something appears suspicious—even if you know the source—delete it.

Source: National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA)
 

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How to Deter Deer—and Disease—from Your Property

October 7, 2016 2:27 am


Deer are just about everywhere, and, unfortunately, they carry disease-causing insects. They’ll soon be encroaching on properties in search of food, so as a homeowner, it’s important to deter them.

Deer ticks, which can thrive even in a garden, can travel into a home simply by a passing person or pet—in fact, experts say most cases of tick-borne disease begin by exposure in a backyard. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ticks transmit a number of diseases, including Lyme.

Erecting a tall fence around your property can prevent entry, but only somewhat—most deer can jump as high as 10 feet, and many communities enforce height restrictions that could make yours unlawful. You may have even planted species deer don’t like, only to find some are entering and eating, anyway.

One of the more effective methods, according to the experts at Bobbex, is deer repellant, specifically an all-natural, topical foliar spray with scent- and taste-aversion ingredients. Be sure to purchase a spray that is child- and pet-safe, and able to withstand elements like rain and snow, Bobbex’s experts recommend.

For more preventative measures, visit CDC.gov/ticks.

Source: Bobbex
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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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?
 

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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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