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

6 Tips for Greener Home Maintenance

April 16, 2015 1:27 am

Did you know certain home maintenance tasks can be a detriment to the environment? If you’re one of the millions of homeowners who have maintenance on the agenda this spring, consider introducing eco-friendliness to your routine. Here are six ways to get started.

Dump toxic cleaners: When spring cleaning indoors, use water-based or organic household cleaners. Do not pour chemicals down the drain – recycle them at your nearest hazardous waste collection center. To find one in your area, visit your state’s website.

Open the windows: Nothing freshens up a home faster than outdoor air. If weather permits, open your windows to allow air from the outside to sweep away harmful indoor pollutants like radon, secondhand smoke and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) – the latter are typically found in the building materials of existing homes.

Inspect plumbing
: A leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water every day. To conserve water, conduct an inspection of your home’s plumbing system and repair any dripping fixtures immediately. To reduce bills, consider installing a low-flow faucet or shower head in at least one bathroom.

Ready the HVAC system: For those using an A/C this summer, clear the area surrounding the unit of any overgrown shrubbery or debris from winter storms. Obstructions to the unit can lead to increased energy consumption, resulting in higher utility bills.

Restore the lawn
: Patchy areas of your lawn can lead to higher erosion levels if left unrepaired, so restore any grass gaps as soon as possible. To really give your yard a boost and do good for the environment, spread grass clippings on your lawn – the nutrients will benefit the grass underneath and eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.

Compost waste
: If you’d rather not leave clippings on your lawn, consider composting them instead. You’ll save time and money on water usage because composted soil absorbs and holds moisture better than store-bought mulch.

Source: RISMedia’s Housecall

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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11 Ways to Boost Your Emergency Fund

April 15, 2015 1:24 am

Personal finance experts tell us everyone needs an emergency fund; a little stash of cash you can tap for unexpected car repairs, a lost or stolen smartphone, or any other little emergency life throws in your path.

But stowing away that stash can be easier said than done. From Lars Peterson, editor of consumer finance blog Wise Bread, here are 11 tips to help you begin:
  • Keep a spending book – track every dollar you spend for a month. Take a close look at the numbers. Where can you eliminate spending and put the savings away?
  • Eliminate budget busters – Can you step down to a cheaper cable package? Drink fewer Starbucks lattes? Use coupons when you shop for groceries and put the dollars you saved away.
  • Renegotiate what you can – Call your service providers and credit card issuers and ask for a cheaper rate. If you don’t get it, shop around.
  • Bank the savings – That’s the key. Once you’ve nipped away at your costs, you need to bank the savings.
  • Sell your old stuff – eBay, Craigslist, even garage sales. Sell the stuff you no longer need and stow the proceeds in your emergency fund.
  • Sell other people’s old stuff – Thrift stores and garage sales offer lots of good, used stuff at prices so low you may be able to resell it on Craigslist or eBay. Be alert to great buys on used household goods, jewelry and more.
  • Get a side job – Can you wait tables? Work retail? Take freelance gigs from Fiverr or TaskRabbit? Working an extra few hours a week can build your fund up fast.
  • Check your withholding – While it's nice to get a check from the IRS every spring, it's nicer to have the money now, going into your emergency fund every month. Use the IRS withholding calculator and adjust accordingly.
  • Offer to walk dogs or babysit for friends or neighbors – Stash the fees into your emergency fund.
  • Rent out your extra room – Make your place available on Airbnb for short-term housemates, or rent a room to a boarder, who may also help out with utilities.
  • Sign up for focus groups – Marketers and pollsters are so interested in what you think that they'll pay for your opinion. Visit a site like FindFocusGroups.com, and earn $50 to $150 for speaking your mind.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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