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

3 Money Wasters to Avoid This Summer

June 16, 2015 1:45 am

Summer is a time for fun and relaxation, but all those summer activities can wreak havoc on your savings account. To avoid depleting your savings, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling© (NFCC©) recommends steering clear of these top money wasters:

1. Impulsive Travel
– Hastily booking a trip at the last minute can be very expensive, mostly because no time is taken to research deals and comparison shop for the lowest prices. Use the tools available on the Web to capture the most savings. Start by comparing package offers and try to be flexible with travel dates. Many travel booking sites offer special value-added deals that include hotels where kids eat at no cost. You may also catch a break from rental car companies offering free upgrades to give you and your family a little extra leg room. When it comes to travel, a little planning helps your money go a long way.

2. No Spending Plan
– A budget is essential for saving money throughout the year while allowing for necessities like housing and food. The same is true for any summer holiday. Research the destination and compare prices for all of the anticipated activities. Start saving money each month throughout the year to have enough for estimated costs. Less worry about credit card spending leads to a more enjoyable time for everyone.

3. Extra Baggage and Other Airport Blunders – Extra planning saves a whole lot of money at the airport. Savings can start with the number of bags packed, if limited to the size and quantity allowed by the airline being used. Each airline has different guidelines, so it pays to check before traveling. Food and beverage costs are sky high in the terminal and on the plane, so bring some snacks in the carry-on luggage since certain types and quantities of non-liquid food items are allowed through security. An empty water bottle can be filled at any public fountain and helps spare the extra expense of buying bottled water at premium prices inside the terminal or on while in transit.

Source: NFCC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Top 10 Ways to Prep for a Remodel

June 16, 2015 1:45 am

Proper planning is essential before beginning a remodel, and may be the most critical step in the process, says the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). To prepare for the project, NARI shares the top 10 steps you should take before breaking ground on your next remodel.

1. Research your project. Taking time to research projects will provide a good sense of what is involved such as price, scope of work, return on investment and new product and material options. It is also a good idea to research property values in your neighborhood to make sure your project is in line with other homes in the area.

2. Plan project around the long-term.
How long do you plan to stay in your home? How might your family structure change over time? Life can change quickly, so these questions should be answered early on to ensure your project will fit your lifestyle long after it is complete.

3. Set your budget. Deciding on a realistic budget and arranging finances to support your project are essential. This number needs to include everything: the project, products, contingencies, etc. Don’t be afraid to share this with your remodeler; professionals are respectful of a client’s budget and will create a plan around it, not over it.

4. Use advanced search for professionals. The online world makes it easy to gather information about strangers. Ask friends, family and neighbors for referrals and then spend time researching that person online. Professional remodelers take their reputation seriously and hold credentials beyond licensing, such as certifications, memberships in trade associations and additional training. Look for examples of press coverage or involvement in industry presentations or events. Check online reviews and social media to see how they interact with past clients and peers.

5. Ask the right questions.
Time and cost are important, but getting the right information requires the right questions. Ask your professional remodeler about his or her educational background, training, specialties or past issues with clients. Ask about how the remodeling process will work.

6. Verify your remodeler.
Don’t take their word for it. Check the information given to you such as references, license numbers, insurance information and certifications by calling providers to verify. Request a visit to an active client’s jobsite. Make it known that you are checking on him; a true professional considers that as a positive sign to working with a homeowner.

7. Review contracts word-by-word. A remodeling contract protects you and your remodeler. Homeowners should review this carefully. Professional remodelers have done this before, and know what should go in a contract. Homeowners are not as familiar with remodeling and should ask about terms if they don’t understand. Pay attention to details about change orders, payment, additional fees, timeline and responsibilities. If it is not in the contract, it doesn’t exist.

8. Keep design in mind. Your design guides the entire project. Think about what you dislike about your current space and the intended use of the new space. Use Websites such as Pinterest.com and Houzz.com to gather design ideas. Make sure you can articulate specifically what you like about that design when talking to your designer. Professionals don’t recreate a photo – they incorporate accessibility, functionality, ease of modification, style and value into your design.

9. Make your selections. Deciding on products and materials is a larger process than most imagine. With so many options to choose from, product selections are one of the primary reasons for project timelines to get extended. Base decisions on quality, function, price, style and availability. Include selections in the contract to lock down pricing and keep your budget intact.

10. Create a communication plan. A common downfall in remodeling is lack of communication between homeowners and remodelers. Your remodeler should lay out a communication plan at the beginning of the project. If not, ask them to do so. This plan should clarify roles of everyone involved, communication methods, availability, and frequency of communication that is expected.

Source: NARI

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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