June Croissette
HomeMy ListingsView Area Listings•  Foreclosures•  Short SalesInside ToursMortgage InfoCommunity InfoSchool InfoHelpful LinksAbout MeContactLoginBlog
RE/MAX 440   June Croissette
440 South West End Blvd, RT 309  Quakertown, PA  18951
Office Phone: 215-538-4400    Phone: 215-538-4400 Ext. 1210  Fax: 267-354-6834  Cell: 215-872-4966
jcroissette@remax440.com

My Blog

New ‘Treat Obesity Seriously’ Effort Encourages Treatment of Obesity as a Serious Health Condition

May 10, 2013 1:12 am

With two out of three adults in the United States considered obese or overweight, obesity scientists and clinicians are asking that obesity be treated as a serious health condition, such as heart disease and cancer, to bring us closer to combating the epidemic. The Obesity Society (TOS), the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity, is launching the Treat Obesity Seriously campaign to encourage a shift in the way Americans look at the disease. The effort is aimed at educating policymakers on the need to recognize obesity as a serious condition and providing clinicians the tools to diagnose and treat obesity.

"Obesity is one of the most complex, chronic medical conditions," said Harvey Grill, PhD, TOS President. "Successful treatment often requires the support and guidance of professionals. Unfortunately, the way many people look at obesity in the U.S. is limiting the treatment approach, which often means lower standards of care, inconsistent communication of treatment options, and disjointed care coordination. Multidisciplinary care is necessary to treat obesity, particularly given the complex nature of the disease and its impact on both physical and mental health."

It is widely accepted that obesity puts individuals at risk for more than 30 health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Obesity also has a strong correlation to depression. However, evidence increasingly shows that it is harder for some people to take effective steps on their own to lose weight. For example, brain activity studies show that obese people get a smaller "reward" when eating than people of normal weight and each year more genetic factors are found to be associated with obesity.

As part of the effort, TOS is looking to policymakers to improve access for obesity treatment so those affected can get the same necessary medical care and treatment coverage that's available to all others who suffer from other chronic diseases. Some members of Congress are already working to improve access to weight-loss counseling and new prescription drugs for chronic weight management through Medicare. Legislation is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks.

In fact, a 5–10 percent weight loss alone can have significant benefits for a patients' health and new research shows that preventing obesity can have substantial long-term cost savings for the entire healthcare system.

"Obesity treatment is a smart strategy to improve public health and clinician engagement is an important factor," said Grill. "Patients are three times more likely to lose weight if their healthcare provider talks to them about the variety of options available for managing and treating the disease."

Through the newly launched campaign website, clinicians can sign up to receive the following tools by mail:

• BMI prescription pad: Clinicians can record and share information with patients about BMI and waist circumference, two of the primary measures of obesity. The pad also includes information about obesity-related risks and provides links to find out more information about the disease.
• Physician office poster, "Obesity is a serious disease": As they wait to see the doctor, patients can learn more about obesity, such as related health conditions and the significant impact moderate weight loss, as little as 5 percent, can have on these conditions.
• BMI wheel calculator: Technology is not necessary to determine BMI. This simple, circular paper tool allows for a quick calculation of BMI by matching height and weight.

Source: The Obesity Society

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Do It Yourself or Hire a Professional?

May 10, 2013 1:12 am

To celebrate National Home Remodeling Month in May, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers recommends that homeowners consider the safety risks, time delays and hidden costs before attempting do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvements.

According to the 2011 American Housing Survey (AHS) from the HUD/Census Bureau, home owner do-it-yourself (DIY) projects accounted for 37 percent of all home remodeling projects performed nationwide from 2010-2011 but only 18 percent of all remodeling spending. DIY home improvement projects tend to be smaller, require less technical training and expertise and cost less, with 50 percent of homeowners spending less than $950 on these projects. At the same time the median spending on professional remodeling projects is close to $4,000.

One of the most expensive remodeling projects is a kitchen addition, with half of these projects costing more than $27,000. Very few homeowners attempt or manage to add a kitchen on their own. The AHS data show that more than 80 percent of kitchen additions are done professionally. Replacing roofing is also largely outsourced to professional remodelers, 82 percent of these projects are completed by professionals. Homeowners also tend to hire professionals when it comes to home improvement projects that require technical training and, often, a professional license. Close to 90 percent of all remodeling projects that involve adding or replacing a HVAC system are done professionally. Almost two thirds of projects that replace internal water pipes, electrical system, major equipment and appliances are completed by professionals. Not only that homeowners might not have the right tools and knowledge to complete these projects, but many warranties become void by improper installation.

Homeowners are more adventurous and successful in finishing smaller projects. About half of all plumbing fixture replacements are completed with no professional help. More than half of all bedroom and recreation room renovations are completed by homeowners as well. These tend to be smaller projects, with half of them costing less than $1,500 and $1,600, respectively. Professional bedroom and recreation room renovations are bigger in scope with median spending of $5,000 and close to $7,000, respectively.

Source: NAHB Eye on Housing

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Valuable Pieces of Wisdom from Mothers across the Country

May 10, 2013 1:12 am

A Place for Mom® (APFM), the nation's largest senior living referral service, released results from its second annual Mother's Day survey to shed light on maternal relationships, including valuable pieces of wisdom from moms across the country. Leading themes of wisdom were shared on topics including life and happiness, kindness and compassion, career and money, love, strength and coping, humility and morality, and family and children.

"As we celebrate Mother's Day, we are inspired by the valuable advice and insights received from the moms and daughters we help each day," said Sean Kell, CEO of A Place for Mom. "Our Senior Living Advisors provide strength and guidance to families in need, and this survey was a wonderful opportunity for us to benefit from the wisdom of those we serve as they care for their loved ones."

A sampling of the wisdom shared from mothers across the country, according to the survey were:

• You cannot control what life gives you, but you can control how you handle it.
• Seek first to understand, not to be understood.
• Work hard and always have something for yourself.
• Don't give up. Remember your roots. Stay strong, and if all else fails, have a good cry (but privately)!
• Doing the right thing isn't always easy, but it's easier than the alternative.
• It is important to be kind to your family, because you are stuck with them forever.
• No matter what obstacle you are facing, no matter how difficult, daunting or terrifying, if you attack it with everything you are made of you will always prevail.
• Surround yourself with people that lift you up and make you laugh!
• Love is what matters most in the world.
• Always have a good pair of red heels and red purse.

With over 300 Americans ages 18-65 polled, survey results showed that many Americans describe their mothers positively and state relationships have grown closer over time.

Words used to describe mom were:
o Inspirational (90 percent)
o Loving (29 percent)
o Strong (27 percent)
o Caring (22 percent)
o Hard-working (22 percent)
o Unselfish (20 percent)

Mothers have positively influenced key areas of their children's lives including:
o Relationships with others (40 percent)
o Decision-making (34 percent)
o Self-esteem (24 percent)
o Career (12 percent)

Over time, more than half of adults surveyed have strengthened their relationship with mom and have:
o Become closer friends (54 percent)
o Become each other's support system (39 percent)

Moms (45 percent) and sons/daughters (40 percent) seek each other's advice before making major decisions

Source: A Place for Mom

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Create Budding Home Updates

May 9, 2013 1:08 am

(Family Features) Bring the garden inside to add a romantic and softer touch to your home décor. Though real flowers are always a gorgeous addition, they can be costly and, unfortunately, they will expire. Due to their permanent and authentic nature, more decorators are turning to their faux counterparts when glamming up interiors.

Boasting an incredibly realistic look and feel, faux flowers are available in many varieties and colors. So, no matter what type of décor appeals to you – from contemporary to colonial – you can find the perfect petals to match your look and style.

Here are tips for using artificial flowers in your home:

• When shopping, choose the best you can afford within your budget. You’ll be happy you spent the money on quality blooms that you’ll treasure for years to come.
• In doubt of your decorating skills? Simply tuck one stem of your favorite variety in a glass vase for a classic, chic look.
• Faux petals are easy to care for and clean with the use of a handheld vacuum, a steamy shower or a soft, dampened cloth.
• Add one or two accent pieces that feature artificial flowers. From pillow cases to lamp shades, this look is everywhere and will add a cheerful glow to any room.
• Stay away from colors that don’t naturally occur. For example, a rose in a bright blue shade will not convey the same amount of charm as a dusty pink.

Floral Lampshade

Some experience necessary
Approximate Crafting Time: 3-5 hours

Supplies and Tools:

Scissors
26” Hydrangea Sprays
Jolee’s Jewels Bicone/Pearl Combo: White
Offray 1/8” Black Ribbon
Offray 7/8” Oatmeal Ribbon
Black Tassel
Fabric Lampshade: Cream
Sewing needle
Thread

1. Remove individual blooms from hydrangea sprays.
2. Sew crystals and pearls to centers of blooms.
3. Hot glue blooms onto lampshade, slightly overlapping to cover the entire surface of shade.
4. Add a ribbon bow and tassels, if desired.

Source: www.joann.com/projects

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Is That Driver On The Road Next To You Asleep?

May 9, 2013 1:08 am

Driving with untreated sleep apnea is equivalent to driving with a .06-.08 blood alcohol level. Recent studies have shown that truck drivers are at high-risk for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders—affecting 28 percent of Commercial Truck Drivers. In the aviation industry, alternating shifts and rapidly changing time zones present unique obstacles when it comes to sleep apnea and safety in the air. Eighteen percent of train operators attribute "near miss accidents" at work due to their sleep apnea. Over 100,000 vehicular accidents and 1,500 deaths annually are caused by sleep deprivation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. According to the CDC, sleep quality, duration, behaviors, and disorders need to be monitored in order to show its health impact on Americans. One of the many concerns with sleep deprivation is driving and flying sleepy especially for those in the transportation industry. Disturbance of sleep compromises mood, performance, and alertness which can result in the inability to pay attention and react to signals, which then can lead to injury or death.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 100 million people worldwide have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) or sleep apnea. In the U.S. alone over 23 million Americans (approximately 25 percent of OSA sufferers) have been diagnosed with OSA and an estimate of millions more whom have not yet been diagnosed; so many of these people are pilots in the air, engineers on the railroads, or commercial truck drivers on the interstates. With these staggering numbers, the use of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is growing exponentially.

Most with sleep apnea use CPAP therapy to manage their sleeping disorder. The transportation industry is now recognizing the importance and need for their workers to comply with their prescribed CPAP usage, but for those transportation specialists, CPAP therapy is much more difficult to manage while on the road. Maintenance and keeping the equipment clean and sanitized comes with its challenges, especially for those who are traveling.

It is critical to ensure those Americans who are in the transportation industry are experiencing proper sleep apnea treatment and therapy coupled with an effective, effortless, and transportable way to clean their equipment on the road. This will help to better protect the traveling public from the dangers associated with those in the public transportation industry who suffer with sleep apnea.

Source: www.betterrestsolutions.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Consumers Tip Scales of Home Price Change Expectations

May 9, 2013 1:08 am

More than half of Americans now expect the country’s home prices to climb within the next year, illustrating a growing optimism toward the health of the housing industry. The share of respondents to Fannie Mae’s April 2013 National Housing Survey results who expect home prices to go up rose another 3 percentage points in April to 51 percent. By comparison, at the same time last year, only 32 percent expected an increase in home prices.

“For the first time in the survey’s three-year history, the majority of Americans surveyed now expect home prices to increase,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Crossing the 50 percent threshold marks a significant milestone as most Americans believe a housing recovery is truly occurring throughout the country. Reflecting that increased optimism toward housing, the share of Americans who think it is a good time to sell has doubled during the last year. Many homeowners who have been underwater are gradually returning to positive equity, and selling is now becoming an available and attractive option again.”

The share of respondents who say now is a good time to sell climbed 4 percentage points in April to 30 percent, compared to 15 percent at the same time last year. Americans’ increasing optimism toward the selling market may bode well for continued improvement in housing activity, as recent market data suggest that five out of eight people who buy a home first have to sell.

Findings:

Homeownership and Renting


• The average 12-month home price change expectation held steady at 2.7 percent.
• The share of people who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months hit a survey high of 51 percent, while those who believe home prices will go down remained at the survey low of 10 percent for the fourth month in a row.
• The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up fell 3 percentage points to 43 percent, while those who say they will go down increased slightly to 7 percent.
• At a survey-high 30 percent, the share of respondents who say it is a good time to sell a house increased 4 percentage points over March.
• The average 12-month rental price change expectation held steady at 4.1 percent.
• Forty-eight percent of those surveyed say home rental prices will go up in the next year, a 2 percentage point decrease from last month’s survey high.
• The share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move increased slightly to 65 percent.

The Economy and Household Finances

• At 39 percent, the share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track increased 4 percentage points over March.
• The percentage of people who expect their personal financial situation to get worse over the next 12 months fell 5 percentage points to 16 percent.
• Twenty percent of respondents say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago, holding steady from last month.
• Eleven percent reported significantly lower household expenses compared to 12 months ago, a 3 percentage point increase over March.

Source: Fannie Mae

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Reclaiming Your Bedroom

May 8, 2013 1:08 am

Our bedrooms are supposed to be our safe havens – our private sanctuaries. Yet more often than not, they’re home to piles of laundry to put away, dusty work-out equipment, and mismatched shoes. How can one relax in that environment?

Thanks to some great strategies from author Julie Morgenstern via HGTV.com, your bedroom can soon become the zen-like environment it was intended to be. Here are Morgenstern’s top tips for organizing and reclaiming the boudoir:

1. Under-bed Storage. Sliding or rolling under-bed storage bins serve as a wonderful extension of your closet space. Use them to rotate seasonal items, store bigger, bulkier items like backpacks, purses and blankets, or house a change of sheets. These items will remain nicely hidden with the help of a bedskirt. Be sure to label the bins to avoid frantic and messy searching.

2. Put Shoes in Their Place. One of the quickest fixes to a bedroom closet overrun with shoes is to invest in a shoe rack. Morgenstern recommends an expanding tiered shoe rack below your clothes as opposed to an over-the-door hanging shoe bag. Once you have a clear visual on just how many shoes you actually own, odds are you’ll realize it’s time to give some away.

3. Control Jewelry Chaos. A hanging jewelry organizer can help tame that tangled mess of necklaces and earrings on your bureau. These organizers usually come with or snap onto a hanger and have plenty of clear pockets to keep items free and clear of each other.

4. Create a Reading Nook. That lovely chair you have in your room was not meant to be adorned with dirty laundry and back-logged magazines. Morgenstern says it’s time to rescue your reading chair by adding the proper organization, such as a side table with drawers or shelves for your reading materials, journal or e-reader. If you’re a magazine and/or newspaper fan, a magazine rack would work best

5. Make Your Bed Every Day. So simple yet so tempting to blow off. Treat your bed as the sanctuary it is by positioning it for use every day, says Morgenstern. If you spend three minutes each morning to tuck and fold, you'll develop a habit of keeping order in the room, which may translate into motivation for picking up the pile of clothes on the floor.

6. Put Specialty Garments in Storage. If your wedding dress or special occasion fur is taking up space in your primary closet, have it professionally cleaned and boxed, then put it away in an attic or basement.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Choosing Your Most Sustainable Mortgage Option

May 8, 2013 1:08 am

I recently ran across some good advice from Scott Sheldon (bayarearealestatetrends.com) who blogs about how the shrinking inventory of available housing is taking some homebuyers' focus off the bottom line.

Sheldon says pre-approved buyers typically focus on purchase price, when in most cases, it’s the monthly payment over time relative to the purchase price that dictates whether or not that particular property can be identified as an opportunity.

Sheldon goes on to say that consumers are beginning to place more emphasis on sustainable payment over time considering they could be paying more for the property than anticipated. And today's real estate market conditions are causing many buyers to switch mortgage loan programs during the pre-approval phase and well into after they’ve gotten into contract.

While qualifying for the mortgage is the end result, to perform on a purchase contract, Sheldon says the appropriate loan program promoting long-term payment sustainability becomes the next critically important piece of the puzzle.

In his blog, Sheldon details the following borrowing options:

• Conventional loans represent the lowest cost combination of rate and payment over time. This type of financing represents the cream of the crop available in the market today. When it comes to conventional loans, twenty percent down to avoid monthly mortgage insurance, with the lowest possible payment being 3 percent is common.

• FHA loans—including first-time homebuyer options—are typically geared toward consumers entering the real estate market for the first time. This type of financing, however, is eligible for anyone and is not solely a first-time homebuyer program.

• Fannie Mae's Homepath.com program offers two main advantages: no appraisal requirement and no monthly mortgage insurance requirement. The cost of these two advantages comes in the form of a higher risk based pricing, an inherently higher cost loan.

• VA loans for military families through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees loans for veterans looking to purchase real estate. The program allows for 100 percent financing and no money down and does not contain any monthly mortgage insurance.

Source: www.bayarearealestatetrends.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Natural Fun Takes a Backseat to Tech Time for Kids & Families

May 8, 2013 1:08 am

From weekday afternoons huddled in front of gaming consoles to weekends spent downloading the latest smartphone app, kids today spend a significant amount of time indoors tethered to technology. A survey commissioned by Busch Gardens® found that 85 percent of moms worry that their children don't experience enough natural, unstructured outdoor playtime – the kind of activity so common in previous generations.

According to the survey of nearly 900 moms conducted by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Busch Gardens®, kids spend only two hours during the week participating in natural, unstructured activities such as playing tag, riding bikes, and exploring nature, and these activity levels increase only slightly on the weekends to a little more than two hours.

"As parents, we remember our own moms opening up the screen door on a summer day and telling us 'go outside and play,' and we did, playing with friends from the neighborhood, roller skating and concocting elaborate games," said Stacy DeBroff , founder and CEO of Mom Central Consulting. "We fear we're raising a generation of kids with 'Natural Fun Deficiency' who rarely play outside unless as part of planned activities with a coach nearby carrying a whistle and a clipboard."

Based on the survey results, both moms and kids see technology as a deterrent to kids playing outside – 68 percent of moms think their kids spend too much time plugged in, and 44 percent of kids prefer texting to kickball.

However, the obstacles to outdoor-based family time include more than just technology. More than two-thirds of moms feel that family fun often takes a backseat to day-to-day obligations.

Here are some tips to combat 'Natural Fun Deficiency':

For Kids
• Keep it Low-Key: Don't worry about creating a master outdoor curriculum for kids. Instead, encourage them to build a fort, suggest they invite the new neighbor kids over for a backyard soccer game, or challenge them to make the ultimate mud pie.

• Team Up with Fellow Moms: When it comes to planning play dates, the survey showed that almost 60 percent of moms never or rarely think about organizing an outdoor-focused get-together, despite the fact that 75 percent of moms want their kids to be more open to outdoor adventure. Work with other moms to banish time in front of the TV or gaming console and instead suggest that kids go outside for a backyard scavenger hunt or game of kickball.

• Group Learning Activities: Surprise the kids with learning experiences disguised as pure fun.

For Families

• Plan a Family Getaway: According to the survey results, 70 percent of moms rely on vacations as a time for kids to unplug and get away from technology. Planning a family getaway can be a great way for everyone to set aside pressures and obligations and re-connect as a family.

• Explore the Great Outdoors: To jumpstart natural, outdoor fun, identify vacation spots with enough outdoor activities to entice everyone in the family. For example, a beach vacation offers opportunities for swimming, water sports, and beach exploration, while a visit to a theme park provides everything from thrill rides to water fun to animal encounters in natural settings.

• The Family Who Plays Together, Stays Together: Support kids' newfound outdoor experiences by creating fun, easy-to-arrange family activities. Take advantage of extended daylight hours to eat dinner on the patio or schedule an impromptu picnic dinner in the backyard. Or walk the dog as a family each weekend morning.

Source: Busch Gardens

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

What Will Really Make You Happy?

May 7, 2013 1:08 am

The idea of a happy and meaningful life has become unnecessarily complicated in some circles, says author and certified positive psychology coach Lynda Wallace, who left a high-powered executive career with Johnson & Johnson to pursue her real passion—helping individuals and groups achieve greater happiness and success.

“Happiness has been appropriately cited as a goal in political debates on issues from taxation to the social safety net to marriage equality, but the debate is often confused,” says Wallace, author of “A Short Course in Happiness: Practical Steps to a Happier Life,” which topped Amazon’s Self-Help Best Seller list.

“Some people claim that happiness is all in your DNA or bank account. The truth is that happiness is largely a matter of everyday choices and actions. There are straightforward, well-researched and effective things every one of us can do to create greater happiness in our lives and in the lives of those we care about.”

The essential elements of a happy life are not mysterious, she says.

Research shows that the happiest people do four basic things that make the difference: they focus on what is good and positive in their lives; cope effectively with life’s inevitable challenges; develop strong relationships; and pursue meaningful goals.

“We can all become happier by putting our efforts into these areas,” Wallace says.

One of the first steps we can take is to get past some of the common misperceptions about happiness that can stand in our way. Wallace offers these four examples.

• Misconception 1: Happiness is about getting the big things right. It’s natural to think that if we were suddenly rich, beautiful and living on the beach somewhere, we’d be happy. But that type of good fortune turns out to have a surprisingly small impact on happiness. The happiest people are most often not those in the most enviable circumstances, but those who cultivate positive emotional outlooks and actions. So how can we do it? “Take concrete steps to practice optimism, gratitude, kindness and self-compassion in your everyday life,” says Wallace. “The cumulative effect of those everyday choices can have a tremendous impact on how you experience your life.”

• Misconception 2: Happy people suppress negative emotions. Happy people actually experience sadness, grief, worry and other so-called negative emotions nearly as frequently as unhappy people do. The difference is what happens when those feelings occur. Happier people are generally able to experience negative feelings without losing hope for the future. “They give themselves permission to feel sad, angry or lonely, but they remain confident that things will get better. As a result, their sadness progresses into hope and action rather than regressing into anxiety and despair.”

• Misconception 3: Pursuing happiness is self-centered. The strongest of all conclusions drawn by researchers into emotional well-being is that our happiness is determined more by our relationships with other people than by any other single factor. The happiest people build their lives around good, trusting relationships. “If other priorities are getting in the way of your relationships,” says Wallace, “take steps to shift the balance back to where it will really make a difference.”

• Misconception 4: I’ll be happy when I achieve my goals. Have you ever noticed that when someone wins the Super Bowl or an Academy Award, or when you achieve a long-sought ambition, that wonderful sense of accomplishment and happiness seems to fade faster than you’d expect? “That’s just the way our brains work,” says Wallace. “Committed goal pursuit is one of the keys to a happy life, but most of the happiness we get from striving for goals comes while we’re making progress toward them, not after we achieve them. That’s why it’s so important that we choose goals that are in synch with what we love and value, and that we make a conscious effort to enjoy them along the way.”

Source: www.lyndawallace.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags: