RE/MAX 440
The Melanie Henderson Team
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The Melanie Henderson Team
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Doylestown  PA 18901
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Report: 'Work Martyrs' Are Mostly Millennials

August 22, 2016 1:22 am


Forfeiting time off from work is not uncommon—it is most common, however, among millennials.

“The ‘entitled millennial’ narrative is dead wrong when it comes to vacation,” says Katie Denis, author of the recently released Project: Time Off report “The Work Martyr’s Cautionary Tale: How the Millennial Experience Will Define America’s Vacation Culture.”

“As the largest generation in the workforce—one that is now stepping into management—millennials are developing vacation attitudes that will define and negatively affect America's work culture,” Denis says.

According to the report, millennials are the generation most likely to have a “work martyr” mindset: forgoing time off from work out of fear or guilt.

“The circumstances of the millennial experience—the Great Recession and its aftershocks, growing student debt, and an always-connected lifestyle—have created a perfect storm for their work martyr behavior,” says Denis.

Work martyrs avoid taking time off work for a variety of reasons, the report found, such as:

• They believe they are showing complete dedication to the job.
• They believe they will be perceived as replaceable.
• They believe they may lose consideration for a raise or promotion.
• They believe only they can do the job.
• They believe their boss may have a negative reaction.

The report indicates the work martyr culture is perpetuated from both sides: millennials in management roles not only feel they cannot take time off, but also feel pressure to deny time-off requests from those they supervise.

Still, most millennials believe a work martyr is a good role to assume, and that the martyr mindset will be positively received by their bosses.

Denis cautions less time off can have widespread negative effects across all working generations.

“There are larger implications for the workforce when people don't take vacation,” Denis says. “Time off is essential to employee productivity, creativity, and overall performance.”

Source: Project: Time Off
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Homeowners Ask: Is It Too Early for an End-of-Season Cleanup?

August 22, 2016 1:22 am


The answer is no!

Summer is coming to a close, and for homeowners, now is the time to conduct property maintenance ahead of the change of season. Home improvement blogger Michael Miller and Seniorific.com recommend an end-of-season cleanup include the following tasks:

Remove thatch build-up. Thatch prevents moisture, oxygen and sunlight from reaching soil, potentially inhibiting the growth of (and harming) the lawn.

Perforate the lawn to allow air, fertilizer and water to strengthen its roots and reduce compacted soil.

Feed the lawn with a slow-release fertilizer to allow grass to soak up nutrients that will help it recover from summer heat and stress.

Store the lawn mower. Consult the owner’s manual for best practices when disposing of unused gasoline and storing.

Plant spring bulbs, like daffodils and tulips, if the climate permits. (Planting too early can cause them to sprout before winter!)

Water shrubs and trees once they go dormant (but before the ground freezes). Use a root irrigator or soaker hose.

Stow hoses. Inspect the hoses thoroughly before putting them away for the winter—check for leaks around connectors, and drain all water out of the hose.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Credit Myths Debunked

August 22, 2016 1:22 am


There is a wealth of misinformation about credit—in fact, credit users, even those who check their scores often, incorrectly believe age, employment history and salary factor into a credit score, according to a recently released TransUnion survey.

“Checking your credit score is an important component of financial responsibility, but consumers should do more,” said TransUnion Consumer Interactive President John Danaher in a statement on the survey. “Our survey shows that even those who monitor their credit are only skimming the surface of their credit report and often don’t understand the factors that comprise their credit score.”

The most common misconceptions both credit-checkers and non-credit-checkers should know, according to TransUnion, are:

Myth: Checking my credit report will lower my score.
Checking your credit report will not impact your score—a lender checking your report, however, may.

Myth: Using my debit card will boost my score.
Use of a debit card does not reflect your credit habits, and, thus, will not impact your credit score.

Myth: My salary factors into my score.
Your salary will not impact your credit score, but a lender may factor it into the decision to approve your loan.

Myth: My credit card bill can be paid late, so long as it is paid.
Paying your credit card bill late will impact your score—late payments may remain on your credit report for seven years.

Myth: My credit score is all I need to know.
Checking your credit score is important, but so is checking your entire credit report. Assessing the full report not only helps you understand what impacts your score, but also helps you identify areas for improvement or errors.

Source: TransUnion
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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7 Fun, Frugal Ways to Spend Free Time

August 19, 2016 12:28 am


Spare time is something to be treasured. It can also be expensive, because there are so many tempting—and costly—ways to spend it. For the budget-conscious among us, contributors to U.S. News & World Report suggest seven ways to spend free time without breaking the bank:

1. Check Out Museums – Most of us have never explored the museums in our own communities. Free or discount admission days can provide a pleasant few hours or a fun date on the cheap.

2. Get in Shape – You don’t have to join a gym to get a healthy workout. Grab a friend for a daily walk or jog, or check out online videos for ideas.

3. Shop Second-Hand – If you do need to shop for clothes or household goods, go to a second-hand store—it’ll keep your spending to a minimum.

4. Take Up a New Hobby – Adopting a hobby, like or learning a new language or widening your cooking skills, is an affordable way to spend free time.

5. Visit the Library – Readers can check out best sellers and classics for free, along with e-books and hundreds of movies.

6. Volunteer – Find an opportunity that appeals to you, such as assisting at an animal shelter, to spend some fun, rewarding hours helping others without spending money.

7. Write a Blog – Try your hand at blogging on a topic you’re knowledgeable and passionate about.

How do you spend free time without spending money?
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Homeowner Handbook: What to Do If the Sewer System Breaks Down

August 19, 2016 12:28 am


Many homeowners have had to deal with a malfunctioning sewer line at one time or another—often, at the expense of limited know-how. It pays to be prepared if the sewer line breaks down, says Michael Petri, owner of New York-based Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

According to Petri, a sewer line can fail for a number of reasons, including excessive rainfall; therefore, the first step to remedy a breakdown is to identify its cause.

“First, look for any backflow, issues flushing the toilet, and clogged drains,” Petri advises. “This is often an indication of potential sewer problems in need of repair, sewer cleanout, or replacement.”

In most cases, issues can be fixed by clearing drains that have backed up, says Petri. Garbage disposal and kitchen sink drains are often the culprits.

“We suggest examining your drains regularly,” Petri says. “Use grates to prevent debris, such as hair, from getting clogged going down the drain. In addition, pour water down the drain to check the speed of the water flow into the pipes.”

This type of maintenance—“preventative,” notes Petri—staves off damage that could warrant replacement of the system.

Ensure the sewer drains near the property are not blocked by litter, as well, Petri says—sometimes, the solution is a simple sweep of a nearby drain.

Petri also recommends inspecting the foundation of the home for standing water—this could be a sign of a worsening problem. (Standing water can also encourage mold growth, Petri adds.)

Work to minimize water use in the home during bouts of heavy rainfall. According to Petri, high volumes of household water, combined with rainwater, can place undue strain on the sewer system.

Source: Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Trends: Luxe Meets Tech in Master Baths

August 19, 2016 12:28 am


More and more homeowners are investing in luxurious, technology-equipped master baths, incorporating features that range from built-in sound and radiant flooring to self-cleaning toilets and towel warmers.

This is according to the recently released U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Survey, which polled over 2,000 homeowners who are either in the midst of, are planning to, or have recently completed a master bath remodel.

“Our recent industry and consumer studies show an uptick in discretionary projects and spending in several areas of the home, including bathrooms,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz, in a statement. “The Bathroom Trends study sheds light into what is behind the spending increase in renovations of these rooms, including a rise in high-tech and luxury features.”

Luxe…

Of those surveyed:

• 54 percent upgraded a master bathroom shower to a model with luxury features, such as a rainfall showerhead;

• 20 percent upgraded a master bathroom tub to a model with luxury features, such as room for two; and

• 6 percent upgraded a master bathroom toilet to a model with luxury features, such as a bidet.

…Meets Tech

• 20 percent upgraded a master bathroom toilet to a model with high-tech features, such as a built-in night light or motion-activated seat;

• 12 percent upgraded a master bathroom tub to a model with high-tech features, such as a heated backrest or scented mist dispenser; and

• 9 percent upgraded a master bathroom shower to a model with high-tech features, such as digital controls or mood lighting.

The most common elements and finishes in luxe-meets-tech baths, according to the survey, include:

• Ceramic/Porcelain Tile
• Gray Paint
• White Countertops/Cabinetry

Homeowners are shelling out to achieve the luxe-tech look, the survey concludes: two in five of those surveyed spent $10,000 - $25,000, and one-third spent over $25,000.

Source: Houzz.com
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Joined a Gym? Tips to Start Off on the Right Foot

August 18, 2016 12:25 am


Did you know exercise not only makes you feel healthier, but can make you feel younger, too?

Planet Fitness recently commissioned a survey of gym-goers over age 60 to determine their attitudes toward exercise. The most impressive result? Sixty-plus exercisers reported feeling 12 years younger than their actual age. Talk about incentive!

However old or young, joining a gym for the first time can be intimidating. According to Brian Zehetner, director of Health and Fitness for Planet Fitness and co-author of “Working Out Sucks (And Why It Doesn’t Have To),” making the experience stress-free is key. His tips include:

Asking for Help

Close to one-third of those surveyed by Planet Fitness reported feeling concerned they will not understand how to use gym equipment. Ask for help! Take advantage of the staff available to you—they will teach you how to use the equipment safely.

Starting Slow

Know your limitations, and don’t take on too much too soon—nothing is more frustrating than an injury, especially if you’re an older individual who will require a longer recovery period. Start by establishing a core foundation of cardiovascular conditioning, strength training and flexibility exercises.

Teaming Up

Having a workout buddy can make the gym experience seem less daunting, and provide motivation. (For most over age 60, the “talk test” is a good way to measure the intensity of the workout—if you can carry on a conversation while exercising, you're probably enjoying yourself more than you would be working out alone.)

Expecting Discomfort

Don’t be discouraged by soreness or stiffness after your first few workouts—these are signs that the body has identified the stress you’re putting it through, and responding and adapting in kind. Over time, exercise will become easier, and recovery won’t take as long.

Starting off on the right foot at the gym can set you on the path toward a healthier lifestyle long-term. Stick with it—you’ll feel benefits sooner than you think!

Source: Planet Fitness
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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3 Reasons to Remodel This Fall

August 18, 2016 12:25 am


Most house remodels occur in spring and summer, when the weather is unlikely to derail a project—but according to one expert, another season is just as ideal for remodels: fall.

Why fall? Dan Fritschen, product manager at RemodelOrMove.com and author of six books on home remodeling, lists three reasons:

1. The off-season means more contractors are available for hire. Remodels are less common in fall, making it the perfect time for homeowners to have their pick of professionals. Contractors are often more responsive in the off-season, and eager to give estimates for work that will keep them employed through fall and early winter.

2. Temperatures are ripe for remodeling convertible spaces. Finishing an attic or basement in spring or summer can be challenging due to a lack of climate control. Fall temperatures, on the other hand, are cool enough—but not too cold—to start (and finish!) a conversion project. According to Fritschen, an attic or basement conversion ranges from $25 to $100 per square foot.

3. The holidays are coming! Starting a remodel in fall will allow time to complete the project before the holidays—what better way to celebrate the season than with a newly remodeled home?

To enjoy these benefits, it is imperative to keep the project on schedule, Fritschen adds. RemodelOrMove.com offers a free remodeling planner that will not only customize the schedule, but automatically send information at pivotal points in the project.

Source: RemodelOrMove.com
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Has Federal Intervention Improved Home Appraisals?

August 18, 2016 12:25 am


Have home appraisals become more accurate in the years since the enactment of Dodd-Frank?

For homebuyers, an inaccurate home valuation can derail the opportunity to obtain a mortgage; for homeowners, it can spoil the chance to refinance.

The answer, according to an analysis by Bankrate.com, is murky.

Dodd-Frank was expected to result in more reliable appraisals, Appraisal Institute spokesman Ken Chitester told Bankrate—one provision, the elimination of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC), was aimed at clearing up confusion over who can present information to an appraiser and discouraging lenders from placing pressure on appraisers to value properties at a certain price.

The HVCC, however, had unintended consequences. According to Bankrate, many more appraisals were ordered through appraisal management companies (AMCs), which were dispatching appraisers to properties far afield from the neighborhoods they knew well. As a result, these appraisers were undervaluing homes, putting countless potential sales in jeopardy.

Under Dodd-Frank, REALTORS®, homebuyers and home sellers can consult with an appraiser—but this newfound permission requires some basic knowledge on the part of the consumer, Richard Koestner, partner at Iowa-based Koestner, McGivern & Associates, told Bankrate.

Koestner recommends homebuyers and home sellers ask:

• How long have you been an appraiser?
• How many appraisals have you completed?
• How often do you appraise homes in this area?
• How familiar are you with the local market?
• Where do you get the data that you use in your appraisal reports?

Asking these questions can help homebuyers and home sellers not only assess an appraisers’ qualifications, but also understand the home appraisal process.

For more on home appraisals, or to learn how much your home is worth, contact a real estate professional in your area.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What Not to Pack for Your Next Vacation

August 17, 2016 12:46 am


Airlines have begun charging for checked bags, travel security measures have tightened… what’s a vacationer to do?

A carry-on bag is your best bet—but if you’re traveling for a week or more, packing just a carry-on may seem impossible. Turns out, you can travel light and still have everything you need for a vacation, says Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com. Here, his top picks for what not to pack:

A Third Pair of Shoes – For most trips, you can get away with a pair of sneakers and one pair of walking shoes nice enough to be worn to dinner. If you must have more, make the third pair lightweight flip-flops.

Banned Liquids – You know you can’t bring bottled water through security, but remember that shampoos, lotions, sunscreens, etc., must be in bottles no more than 3.4 ounces.

Excess Equipment – Blow dryers can be found at even the most modest motels, and forget electric curlers or straighteners— you won’t want to spend so much time on your hair, anyway!

Expensive Items – Valuables are a target for thieves, and bags or purses can easily be lost or rummaged through. If you must take an expensive item, wear it—and if you bring an electronic device, keep it on your person at all times.

More Clothes Than You Need – Make a wish list of outfits you want, then cut it in half. Know the weather in your destination, and be prepared to layer as needed.

Old-Style Entertainment – Free up space by leaving books, especially hard-covers, as well as radios and flashlights, at home.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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