RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Building a Deck? Start Now to Enjoy by Spring

November 9, 2015 2:48 am

(Family Features) Considering building a deck? Late autumn and early winter are the best times to plan – in fact, completing prep work in the off-season will allow you to enjoy your new deck that much sooner come spring, say the experts at Trex, a nationally-renowned provider of decking and railing. So why wait? Get started with these tips.

1. Partner with a Professional – Unless you plan to build the deck yourself, the first item on your to-do list should be hiring a contractor. Quality deck builders book projects well in advance and often have a waiting list by spring. By doing your research early, you can pre-book for the following season. Fall and winter are ideal times to conduct interviews, review portfolios and gather references.

2. Design Your Dream – Designing your deck can be fun, but time-consuming. Starting early allows you to complete the process with maximum creativity and minimal stress. Ultimately, a deck should be designed around how you plan to use it (e.g. relaxing, entertaining, etc.) Beyond function, consider views, sunlight and shade, and entrances and exits from the home and into the yard. All of these factors will have an impact on your deck's size, shape and scale.

3. Decide on Decking – It's important to choose quality materials that withstand wear and tear. A high-performing, wood alternative is easy to maintain and defends against severe weather and mishaps. Composite decking is resistant to fading, staining, scratching and mold, leaving you with less work and more time for relaxation. When considering materials, you can experiment by ordering sample composite deck boards to see firsthand how different colors and textures work with your home's architecture and style.

4. Think beyond the Boards – Often overlooked, substructure and railing can have a tremendous impact on the performance, appearance and cost of a deck. For the substructure, talk with your contractor about the differences between materials. Steel deck framing, for instance, offers stability and durability benefits over wood, plus greater design flexibility, sustainability, safety and fire resistance. Railing adds both safety and style to decks. Available in a wide array of styles, shapes and materials, you can tailor your railing to personalize and frame your outdoor space.

5. Understand Costs and Value – Keep costs in mind throughout the planning process. Several factors will affect material and labor costs, including the size and shape, along with any extras you may want to incorporate. In addition, consider if you want to incorporate integrated features like built-in benches, planter boxes and storage, and budget accordingly for extras such as a pergola, fire pit or lighting, which can add comfort, character and convenience to your outdoor retreat.

Source: Trex

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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10 Ways to Boost Creditworthiness

November 9, 2015 2:48 am

Using credit responsibly is an integral part of personal financial health. Not only is credit a key factor in securing loans for a home, vehicle or other major purchases, landlords often look at credit before approving new renters, as well.

"Improving and maintaining a positive credit history is important for people of all backgrounds, ages and life phases," says Mike Sullivan, director of education for Take Charge America, a national nonprofit credit counseling and debt management agency. “A few credit missteps can set back your financial goals significantly, even years in some cases.”

To do just that, Sullivan recommends the following tips.

1. Limit the Number of Cards
People are bombarded with dazzling credit card offers, but applying for too many can negatively impact credit while also increasing the risk of deep debt.

2. Avoid Fees
Credit card companies charge fees for late payments—even when it’s just a day or two—and for exceeding card limits, even if it’s only a few dollars. Worse, exceeding limits or making late payments may trigger a higher interest rate and show up on your credit report.

3. Pay Off Balances Every Month
Many people fall into the trap of making just the minimum payment, but paying off balances ensures consumers aren’t wasting money on interest.

4. Never Get a Cash Advance
The prospect of quick cash is tempting, but advances almost always come with hefty fees and high interest.

5. Don’t Close Old Accounts…
While this may seem counterintuitive, closing a card may negatively impact your credit because it reduces credit-to-debt ratio and credit history, both major factors credit bureaus use to calculate scores.

6. …Unless There Is a Steep Annual Fee
In this case, the benefits of closing the account may outweigh the potential effect on credit.

7. Review Statements Each Month
It’s important to check your account statements monthly to ensure they are accurate and that you understand the terms.

8. Opt-Out of Prescreening
Minimize the temptation to open new cards by opting out of pre-screened offers at optoutprescreen.com.

9. Use the Perks
Credit cards offer perks beyond travel rewards and cash back, but many don’t know about them. Agreements spell out all of the benefits, from buyer protection and car rental discounts to extended warranties and free airport lounge access.

10. Use Cards Online
With identity theft on the rise, use credit when making purchases online. If your number is stolen, you will not be out any money while the card company investigates. With debit cards, the money may be inaccessible while the situation is being resolved.

Source: Take Charge America

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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