Diane Minguez
HomeLoginMy ListingsView Area Listings•  Foreclosures•  Short SalesCommunity InfoSchool InfoBanbury CrossingCastle HeightsSelling Your HomeAbout MeContactHelping HandsFree SeminarsDiane's BlogMortgage InfoTestimonialsDennis Godshall Homes
RE/MAX 440   Diane Minguez
1110 North Broad Street  Lansdale, PA  19446
Office Phone: 215-362-2260    Phone: 267-575-6818  Fax: 267-354-6882  Cell: 267-575-6818
dminguez@remax.net

My Blog

Tips for Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers

December 14, 2012 3:12 am

With only 12 shopping days remaining until Christmas and Free Shipping Day fast approaching on December 17, there are still numerous ways for shoppers to find substantial savings during the hustle-and-bustle of the holiday shopping season. The following tips are for the procrastinator in all of us:

Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store—Take advantage of online coupons and Cash Back savings by avoiding the inevitable long lines in stores. Many merchants offer this option through Christmas Eve.
eGift cards arrive almost instantaneously—Add a little something extra or grab gifts for those that may have slipped your mind with an eGift card. This is a great last-minute option that won't come with a hefty last-minute shipping price tag. Also, consider gifts that keep on giving such as Wine.com and Omaha Steaks monthly gift packages. You can notify the recipient via email of their gift and they can select when to start shipping.
Stack Deals—Check and see if a merchant allows you to combine a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon. The end result will likely yield deep savings. Be sure to look for Cash Back rewards to stretch your money even further this holiday season.
Mobilize your shopping—Browse on-the-go with your smartphone for easy access to savings and deals. Use mobile apps and simply browse by store to uncover coupon codes, daily deals and automatic Cash Back rewards. If you decide to select an in-store pick-up option for shipping, then you can still take advantage of Cash Back savings even while browsing in store.
Relax, there's time—Many retailers are extending their deadlines so your gifts arrive by Christmas. You can shop even later with in-store pick-up and avoid express shipping fees – most stores offer this service for free. To ensure your gifts arrive in time:
Toys "R" Us: Purchase by Friday, December 21 and choose Express Shipping for most items; Order by 2:00 pm on December 24 for same-day in-store pick-up.
Sears: Purchase by Saturday, December 22 and choose Express Shipping for most items; Choose same-day in-store pick-up and allow at least 2 hours for processing.
• Apple: Order by Saturday, December 22 and choose Express Shipping.
Walmart: Order by Friday, December 21 and choose Express Shipping; Choose same-day in-store pick-up and allow 4 hours for processing time.

Source: www.ShopAtHome.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Top 10 Things to Donate Before Year's End

December 14, 2012 3:12 am

During this busy and celebratory time of year, many people are looking for a way to help those in need, and donating used goods is perhaps the easiest, most affordable, and certainly one of the most efficient ways to help.

"In a season when many of us are focused on gift buying, many Americans are also just as interested in giving back," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. "Even if funds are tight, people can give back by donating gently used items—everything from unwanted holiday sweaters to computers and laptops—even gift cards."

Here are 10 items you should consider donating:

10. Computers: At the end of their useful life, computers can be donated at your local Goodwill store and recycled via Goodwill's Dell Reconnect partnership. Donor should be sure to delete personal data before donating.

9. Kitchenware: Get something new for the kitchen for the holidays? Gently used kitchenware can be donated.

8. Video Games: Donate 10 video games and help fund job training sessions. Ten games can provide 47 minutes of on-the-job training for someone in need of getting back on track educationally.

7. Books: Upgrade from paperbacks to a Kindle or iPad this year? Donate 15 books and provide 26 minutes of career counseling

6. CDs: You've got all your songs saved on hard drives and MP3 players. Do you really need those hundreds of old CDs taking up space in the back of your closet?

5. Cell phones: Unused cell phones are one of the fastest growing kinds of trash in America. Instead of discarding your old phone out, recycle or donate it. Donors should be sure to delete personal data before donating.

4. Household items: It's time to give that lamp a new life. Lamps, frames, vases, curios, baskets, and collectibles are just a few of the many items that you can donate.

3. Bikes: When your children have outgrown theirs, or you've moved on to a new bike, consider donating.

2. Gift Cards: Billions of dollars in holiday gift cards go unused every year. You can donate an unwanted gift card with any unused amount on it.

1. Clothes: Suits, pants, dresses, shirts…you name it. Donating clothes not only funds job training programs, but also provides new outfits for job-seekers.

Donating used goods of all kinds provides valuable services to millions of Americans every year. Consider donating 10 items this year and you can make a world of difference.

Source: Goodwill Industries International

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Mortgage Rates Ease Slightly, Remain Near Record Lows

December 14, 2012 3:12 am

Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates easing slightly and remaining near record lows to keep homebuyer affordability high and attractive to those looking to refinance.

News Facts

• 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.32 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending December 13, 2012, down from last week when it averaged 3.34 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.94 percent.
• 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.66 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.67 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.21 percent.
• 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.70 percent this week with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.69 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.86 percent.
• 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.53 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.55. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.81 percent.

"Mortgage rates held relatively steady following the November employment report," says Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac. "Although 146,000 jobs were created, above the market consensus forecast of 85,000, revisions subtracted 49,000 workers over the September and October period. The unemployment rate fell from 7.9 to 7.7 percent. However, in its December 12 monetary policy statement, the Federal Reserve (Fed) noted that this rate remains elevated and modified the statement to tie any increases to its target rate to the unemployment rate falling below 6.5 percent. The latest Fed central-tendency forecast is for unemployment to be between 7.4 and 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 and between 6.8 and 7.3 percent by late 2014."

Source: Freddie Mac

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Three Hidden Health Dangers in the Home

December 13, 2012 3:08 am

People are continually on the lookout for ways to safeguard their family’s health at home. However, some of the most likely sources of danger may not be the first that come to mind. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that rodents, cockroaches and stinging insects pose serious, but often hidden, health risks when they infest a home.

“Many people think pests are just an annoyance and often forget that there are real health dangers associated with the presence of these pests in and around the home,” says Greg Baumann, senior scientist for NPMA. “People don’t think of asthma, Salmonella, or severe allergic reactions, which is why infestations should not be taken lightly.”

Rodents bring other pests including fleas, mites, ticks and lice indoors and contaminate food with feces that can transmit Salmonella and Hantavirus. Cockroaches spread 33 kinds of bacteria, six parasitic worms and more than seven other types of human pathogens. More, cockroach droppings and shed skins lead to allergen accumulation that can trigger asthma attacks, especially in children. Nearly $1 billion is spent on professional cockroach management services in the U.S. each year, making them one of the most prevalent and hazardous pests.

Stinging insects, including wasps and hornets send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year. NPMA offers these tips to keep pests from becoming a hidden danger at home:

• Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. Eliminate standing water and sources of moisture in or around the home, in flowerpots, pool covers and other objects that collect water.
• Keep food and garbage in sealed containers.
• Seal cracks and holes in your home’s exterior and patch ripped screens.

If you see signs of a pest infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.

Source: National Pest Management Association

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Are the Holidays Wreaking Havoc on You? Get Organized and Take Control

December 13, 2012 3:08 am

At the midpoint of the holiday season, busy schedules and stress levels continue to rise. To help you survive and thrive during this holiday season, here are several tips and tricks to help make yours memorable and stress-free.

• Home is where the heart is.
And it's also the gathering place for family and friends, so get yourself and the house prepared. Create a chore chart and timeline so you're not in this alone and focus on the "public areas" of the house, especially the kitchen. Maximize its space by cleaning and clearing counter tops. A professional carpet cleaning, which is recommended every 6-18 months, should be considered, as well.
It's Party Time! If you're hosting a holiday event, request RSVPs to ensure an accurate headcount. Then, create a plan that includes seating and space requirements, supplies and party favors—2013 calendars make great gifts. Be sure to plan for food storage and cooking/preparation space during the party—this is also a great opportunity to clean out the refrigerator.
What's a feast without Roast Beast? Unless you're in Whoville, you probably will feature more traditional items for your feast. Whatever they may be, write out a detailed menu, create a shopping list, gather grocery ads and coupons, and create a cooking timeline. Make sure to organize these lists and items properly to ensure an efficient trip to the store. Account for dietary restrictions and food allergies, too.
Away you flew like a down of a thistle. Maybe you're not staying at home for the holidays—make sure your travels to your destination are as stress-free as possible. Create and print out itineraries for the entire family. If traveling by car, go through the standard 21-point checklist or make time in your schedule for a professional mechanic to look over your vehicle—use of an auto record book helps you stay on top of required services. If traveling by air, pre-print boarding passes and other necessary documentation for faster check-in. Set up alerts through your mobile devices with the airlines to keep on top of delays or flight changes.
The other line moves faster. This always seems to be the case, and even more so when under the time pressures of the holidays. If you're going to make the most out of your holiday shopping trips, you must have a plan and stick to it.

Source: Day-Timer/AT-A-GLANCE

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Home Safety Tips to Help Minimize the Threat of Winter Fires

December 13, 2012 3:08 am

With cold temps nipping in the air, everyone’s trying to find new ways to stay warm. However, with home heating costs burning a hole in consumers’ wallets, nearly two-thirds of all residential fires occur during the winter months, according to the National Fire Protection Association. This results in billions of dollars in property damage as well as thousands of injuries and deaths each year.

Fires can originate from many sources: too many electrical devices plugged into an outlet, portable heating devices, or roaring fireplaces. However, there are many precautions homeowners can take to keep the home fires burning safely. The use of alternative heating devices is a significant source of many winter fires.

The good news is, many fires are preventable, if the proper precautions are taken. To help minimize the likelihood of a fire occurring in your home, consider the following:

Keep a tight-fitting screen on your fireplace and obtain a professional inspection annually before use. You should also have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis to remove any debris.

If you have a wood-burning stove, make sure there is ample clearance between the stove and any combustible materials. Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood, and dispose of the ashes in a closed metal container outside the house. Do not burn trash in the stove - this can start a chimney fire. Never let a wood fire burn unattended or overnight.

With any type of heater, such as an electric space heater or portable kerosene heater, use common sense. Always keep the heater away from flammables and - although it may be tempting, especially in snow-prone areas - never accelerate the drying of clothes by placing them on top of the heater. Think twice, and use a drying rack instead. Have your heater serviced per the manufacturer’s instructions.
The best defense is a good preparation. A few minutes could save a life.

Source: Metlife

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Tips for Maintaining Safe Food-Handling Practices in the Kitchen

December 12, 2012 3:04 am

By John Voket

Whether it’s just for yourself, for your family, or for any guests or business associates you might be entertaining over the holidays, be sure you are maintaining safe food handling practices in the kitchen.

A recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that although consumers recognize the potential seriousness of food-borne bacteria, they lack information on safe handling and storage of food products. A survey published by the CDC found that consumers under 35 years of age knew less about food safety terms and concepts than those over 35. Specific safe food handling was not practiced by 15 percent to 30 percent of survey respondents. For example, consumers did not cool cooked food rapidly, with 29 percent indicating they would let roasted chicken cool completely before refrigerating.

Only 32 percent indicated they would use small, shallow containers to refrigerate leftovers. Consumers did not know that failure to refrigerate may jeopardize safety, with 18 percent not concerned or uncertain about the safety of cooked meat and 14 percent not concerned about poultry left unrefrigerated for more than 4 hours.

The need for sanitation was not recognized, with only 54 percent indicating they would wash a cutting board with soap and water between cutting raw meat and chopping vegetables.

Food safety experts have identified the most common food-handling mistakes made by consumers at home:

- Serving contaminated raw food
- Cooking or heating food inadequately
- Obtaining food from unsafe sources
- Cooling food inadequately
- Allowing 12 hours or more between preparation and eating

What’s more, according to the CDC, many factors have contributed to consumers' lack of familiarity with safe food handling and increased food-borne illnesses. Increased participation in the paid labor force has lessened the exposure of young people to food-handling practices in the home; few schools offer or require food preparation classes; and partially prepared foods may have different, less familiar handling requirements.

If you want to read a wide variety of information on food handling and all kinds of handy prevention tips, visit the CDC website (cdc.gov) and make a resolution to keep yourself and your home free of food-borne illness in the New Year!

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

'Tis the Season for Safe Medicine Storage

December 12, 2012 3:04 am

Millions of Americans travel during the holidays, often to visit family and friends. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to overlook the importance of safely storing medicines and vitamins out of the sight and reach of young children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation are reminding Americans this holiday season about the importance of safe medicine storage at home and on-the-go, as part of the Up and Away and Out of Sight educational program.

Annually, more than 60,000 young children – or roughly four school busloads of children per day – age 5 or younger are treated in emergency departments for accidental ingestion of household medicines, according to Dan Budnitz, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC's Medication Safety Program. "Parents may not be aware of the danger posed by leaving medications where young children can reach or see them."

Here are tips to help parents and grandparents safely store medicines and vitamins during the holidays:

Keep all medicines and vitamins up and away and out of sight in a high cabinet or other place inaccessible to young children.
Keep purses, bags, or coats that have medicines or vitamins in them out of their reach and sight.
When hosting family members and friends, let the adults know where they can safely store their medicines and vitamins, so they are up and away and out of the sight and reach of young children.
Remember to ensure all medicines and vitamins are secured every time they are used by checking that safety caps are locked and returning them to a location up and away and out of sight.
Program the national Poison Help number, 1-800-222-1222, along with other emergency phone numbers in your home and cell phone so they are available in case of an emergency.

The holidays can be a hectic time, and no one wants to unintentionally put young children in harm's way by leaving medicines in an accessible place. Safe medicine storage should be practiced year-round. Returning medicines to a secure location every time they are used can help prevent unsupervised ingestions and emergency room visits by young children each year.

Source: Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) Educational Foundation

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Adding a Little Luxury to Your Home

December 12, 2012 3:04 am

(Family Features) Seventy-two percent of homeowners plan to decorate or redecorate in the next two years, according to the 2012 Houzz and Home Survey; and 86 percent said that improving the look and feel of the space was their most important goal.

You can find plenty of décor inspiration on sites such as Houzz or Pinterest. And with the right materials and a little creativity, you can add a little luxury to your home, too. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Paint – You can add a fresh look to a room with a fresh coat of paint. You can also add richness and depth with a specialty paint treatment. Textured paint allows you to give your walls the look of soft suede, leather, linen or even vintage plaster. Metallic paints can be used with stencils to create elegant patterns, or on textured wallpaper to create the look of antique tin ceiling tiles.

Textiles – Fabrics are a great way to add color and texture to a room. Browsing the remnant tables at a fabric store can lead you to some beautiful bargains. You can use remnants to recover pillows, add banding to drapes, or make runners for the table or buffet. Try adding a luxurious throw to the sofa or a small wool rug on top of existing carpet for a cozy, layered look.

You can also consider investing in having a quality piece of furniture reupholstered. Look for a fabric that is not only beautiful, but durable as well, so you get more bang for your buck.

Accents – Sometimes little things can add up to a big difference. Change out some of your accent pieces to add a special touch to any room. Metallic colors and materials such as gold, silver, bronze and copper add warmth and elegance. Vases, picture and mirror frames, decorative bowls and trays are simple ways to bring beautiful metals into any room. Richly colored candles add color and scent to a room, and their soft light will make your metallic accents glow.

Flooring – Sometimes the floor can get overlooked as a design element in a room. But a beautiful floor can pull the whole look of a room together. Refinishing hardwood floors, installing laminate or stone flooring, replacing carpets, or investing in quality area rugs are all ways you can add the perfect finishing touch to a room.

There are a lot of ways you can add luxury to your living spaces, so start exploring creative ways to make your home the picture-perfect place you’ve always wanted.

Source: Sensuede

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Protect Your Pets from the Hidden Hazards of Winter

December 11, 2012 3:04 am

Rock salt, antifreeze and mistletoe - oh my! The holiday season brings many pleasures to our four-legged friends: family gatherings, big meals, special trips, and in many areas, some chilly white fluffy stuff to frolic in. However, many pet owners don't realize that when the temperatures drop, the unexpected risks for pets rise.

Here are the top five winter hazards that can be life-threatening for pets. They include:

1. Rock Salt: If you live in a cold climate where winter brings snow and ice, then you're familiar with our first hazard. Rock salt, also called road salt, is sodium chloride mixed with other chemical additives and is used to keep sidewalks and roadways from being too slippery from ice. While the mixture works well, it is very tough on our pets' paws and can be extremely dangerous if ingested. Other de-icing agents should also be avoided in areas where pets congregate.

2. Antifreeze
: Pets may be drawn to this popular engine coolant because it has a sweet taste, but this exceedingly toxic substance that contains ethylene glycol can be found anywhere vehicles drive or park, including streets, roadways, parking lots, or even your own driveway. If ingested, this fluorescent green fluid can cause kidney failure or even death in pets, and since it's used to control the freezing and boiling point of liquids, antifreeze is not exclusively a winter hazard, but also quite dangerous during the warmer months as well.

3. Heating Sources: Pets may enjoy cozying up near the fireplace to bask in the warmth, but this activity is dangerous because of the exposure to flames and increased temperatures that can potentially burn their skin. In addition, pet parents need to be extra cautious when exposing their furry friends to electric blankets and space heaters because these electrical items can become toxic or harmful.

4. Winter Plants: Although they look pretty, many holiday plants can be poisonous to pets. Mistletoe, Poinsettias, Holly and Christmas Cactus are all extremely toxic and can cause severe gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and neurologic effects if ingested. Christmas trees are also hazardous because not only are the pine needles poisonous, but also because of the bacteria and fertilizer harbored in the water stands (which pets are known to drink). Additionally, decorations such as tinsel can also be very noxious if consumed.

5. Festive Foods: Meats and sweets are treats that pets beg for, but are serious no-no's when it comes to your pet's health. Turkey and other holiday meats are very high in protein, but if meats in their natural form are not a regular part of their diet, they can be hard to digest, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or inflammation of the pancreas. Chocolate may be the best-known food danger for pets because it contains caffeine. Dogs in particular do not metabolize these stimulants in their liver, and elevations in heart rate, blood pressure, or even seizures, coma, or death can occur. Of course, all candy is high in sugar, which can cause digestive issues for all pets.

During the holiday season, ensure that everyone enjoys a fun and safe celebration, which includes taking a few extra precautions for your beloved pets.

Source: Adopt-a-Pet.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:
Facebook