Sure, rats, spiders and clowns may terrify you, but chances are you won’t sustain any life-threatening injuries from them. Spiders scare me with all their legs in addition to their secrecy. Furthermore, the house centipede might be the scariest thing known to humans. They are fast, ugly and make even the most masculine man scream like a four year old child. Yet, unlike these household pests (as well as your local neighborhood clown), there are genuine household hazards which are truly scary and should be on your radar this All Hallows Eve. We’ve emphasized 7 scary household hazards, but let us know if we’ve missed any.
We would like to highlight some of them here with 11 facts you’ll want to keep carved in your mind (*unless otherwise noted, these are per year and in the United States):
There are on average 358,500 home structure fires
This is a scary number and many of these are preventable. Checking for fire hazards starts in the kitchen as this is a “hot spot” where numerous fires originate, especially on the stove top. You’ll also want to give space heaters room to function (watch out for curtains or anything flammable coming into contact with them). Two other warning areas should be candles (like your pans in the kitchen, don’t leave them unattended) and faulty/deteriorating electrical cords.
Over 20,000 deaths are related to radon exposure
It’s radon, it’s the number one leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and it’s a deadly, invisible, radioactive gas. It seeps through the ground like a ghost and it doesn’t taste nor smell like anything. The EPA estimates that 21,000 fall victim to it each year, while the National Cancer Institute has their number approaching 22,000.
Christmas can elevate your chances of catching “pine flu”
Did you know that live Christmas trees can release mold spores into your home? While this may not be a problem for most, people who have asthma issues or sensitivity to various allergens might want to reconsider bringing that live tree indoors next month.
44,019 die from unintentional drug-poisoning
It’s the leading cause of injury death in our country and again, with education, programs and assistance these very unfortunate statistics can drop a great deal. Drug-poisoning takes more lives each year than automobile accidents, guns or falling. Do you know that someone calls a poison control center about every 11 seconds in our nation? Please make sure drugs and harmful household cleaning products are out of reach from toddlers and young children.
Carbon monoxide is another silent killer
Like radon, carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, tasteless, colorless and undetectable without the proper detector placed in your home. This gas is toxic and takes the lives of 438 people annually in our nation. Remember, you can’t smell this gas so it’s imperative that you get one carbon monoxide detector installed on each floor of your home to properly protect yourself as well as your loved ones.
One in four Americans over the age of 65 falls
Not surprisingly, falling hazards are the number cause of injuries to seniors, but it doesn’t have to be such a dangerous “slipup” that many take in their day-to-day activities around the home. Here are a few “steps” you can take to keep your loved ones safe – they should avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing, install hand/guide rails for their use, declutter, wear shoes that have good traction/footing, live on one level (if possible) and keep areas of the home where they travel well-light.
A TV can fall with the force of thousands of pounds
Yes, think about that the next time you place a television or large appliance on a free-standing piece of furniture in your home. That’s roughly the equivalent of a NFL lineman slamming into your child… times 10!
Fire takes the lives of 3,362 people
While the fire death rate has dropped over 17% in the past decade, and that’s fantastic news, there’s still more work to be done – education is needed, more fire-escape plans need to be rehearsed and more detectors need to be installed to protect our families. It’s not all scary and it doesn’t have to be, but that number is still way too high!
Every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall
Another scary fact, sadly this is all too true. That’s over 19,500 annually; keeping in mind these are unintentional as most of the dangers on this list are.
Almost one in four calls to a poison control center originated from a health care facility
This is interesting and scary – health care professionals need the assistance of poison control centers. Mr. Yuck we love you!
Every 30 minutes tipping furniture will send a child to the ER
And roughly 67% of them involve toddlers. Often it seems anything involving children can be twice as frightening. Please protect our children, they are super precious.
5 Reasons For Fall Home Shopping
Autumn is my favorite season! The aroma of pumpkin spice fills the air with the sounds of high school marching bands at high school football games. The taste of apple cider has arrived and so have haunted houses (clowns anyone?). Prospective buyers should be excited for another reason this fall – home shopping! It makes perfect sense and here are five reasons why…
Buyers, this is your time of the year! Home sale prices typically hit their peak in June and July in most markets. Though oddly enough, July ’17 and Nov ’16 in the Greater Scranton area were the two high points for median home sale prices over the past twelve months.* In autumn, sales prices of homes will begin to dip, many home-sellers will retreat and buyers who need to buy could be in a great position given a good shot of perseverance!
Statistically, according to RealtyTrac’s fifteen-year study of over 32 million homes from two years ago, the best month to purchase a home is October… Bargain shoppers, tis the season!
More bad news for sellers: Typically if you’ve had your home on the market throughout the summer selling season and you’d prefer not to carry that mortgage payment through the winter in addition to those heating costs, then you unfortunately may find yourself in a compromised negotiating position. Better negotiating power is in the hands of the buyer, especially when the seller includes his/her home in an array of weak fall inventory – an inventory which generally consists of people who need to sell.
Off-peak times such as fall and winter present opportunities for buyers to ask for contingencies or perhaps less favorable terms as part of the agreement of sale and get away with it.
Vanished, The Paradox Of Choice Has
If you have too many choices you run the risk of making a poor decision, or at the very least one you might regret down the road (this happens to me if I ever must purchase jarred pasta sauce). Too many houses on the market (not an issue this past summer), can create a surplus of options ultimately leading to negative results for buyers. Under normal spring/summer real estate conditions where a plethora of choices exist, buyers might, under the stress from the competition, make a hasty decision. During those years, shopping in the fall can be your antidote to the paradox of choice.
Where’s The Competition?
For some buyers, if having your children in their new school district at the start of the school year isn’t absolutely necessary or if doesn’t affect your job, then moving in November or December can actually prove to be financially beneficial. We’ve heard it said by the National Association of REALTORS® and others that the best time to buy a home is when inventory is high, but the reverse can actually be true for purchasers who don’t have restraints in place and have patience. If you don’t care if you move in the summer or not, then you might want to consider saving that extra cash with an autumn purchase.
We’re talking an average savings of over $8,000 from summer to fall.**
Owe Less To The IRS
A home purchase before the end of 2017 can save you money by reducing your tax bill in 2018. You might be able to take tax deductions such as property tax, mortgage interest and/or mortgage points/closing costs to offset your taxable income, if you close on your home by year’s end. Furthermore, during the early years of your loan when you’re paying more interest and less principle, the mortgage interest deduction can have a significant impact on your return. Owing less is more!
As you can see there’s a variety of ways a homebuyer can save money and face less anxiety during fall. Even though some of it may be at the expense of homeowners who presently have their properties on the market, buyers need not have a sense of guilt about these types of savings. You take them wherever and whenever you can in the wonderful world of real estate. With the holidays quickly approaching, buyers can surely use some extra cash in their pocket.
* 2016-17 Statistics from the Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS®
Peg Wascura has been a professional service agent her whole career. A REALTOR® since 2001, she has transitioned her exceptional service experience into the real estate arena. The joy for Peg is getting to know you as a person, your wants and needs as a client, to build a partnership with you, to make your real estate purchase/sale a satisfying experience.
Previous to real estate, Peg was a proud and successful owner of her own hair style salon for twenty-five years. When it came to changing careers, it was clear that her next step was becoming a real estate agent. She learned the profession through Penn State University and continues to build upon her experience daily. Her focus is to achieve the best possible outcome for her clients’ real estate needs. She’s there to assist them seven days a week. She has incredible drive to make their needs her number one priority, and deliver on the sale or purchase of their home. “I’m proud to be a part of a company with state of the art technology, advanced training and a supportive environment,” expresses Peg regarding her recent switch to Realty Network Group.
Peg is a life-long resident of Lackawanna County, born and raised in Bucks Country – Dunmore. She now resides in Eynon. She’s active both as a REALTOR® and a member of her community. In her spare time, she volunteers at Saint Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen. She also loves to spend time with her family, take long walks and has a passion for decorating.
If you need someone to work hard for you – someone who can offer new solutions, ideas, and personal touches to assist you with your real estate needs, contact Peg through Realty Network Group today at email@example.com or 570.357.5165 (cell).
Don’t get caught this winter out in the cold with a home you need to sell. Take these four steps in order to sell your property for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time. We recommend at least a month of prep-time to get your home ready for the market. Get to it! Fall will be here before you know it.
So curb appeal is more critical than you might give it credit for. Know that first impressions are absolutely essential for drawing in homebuyer interest. Everything from the landscaping, to the condition of your driveway, to the front door and everything in between will paint a picture for potential buyers of what your home is like. The appeal or lack thereof will tell buyers if it’s even worth walking through the front door to see the interior of the listing.
When time’s a pressing issue, what are some quick fixes to your home’s curb appeal that will go a long way?
Paint Your Front Door – The front door says: “Hello, look at me!” or “Get the heck off my property.” Which one does your front door presently convey? The front door is your home’s smile, make it pop, but make sure it complements the rest of your home’s façade.
Attend To The Chaos – Are your shrubs overgrown? Do your weeds need to be tamed? Are you cutting your grass on a regular schedule? These are things if not kept in check can spell disaster for any hopes of hooking a buyer. Step back from the front of your home, as see what needs attention.
Driveway Devotion – Resealing a driveway can be a great way to boost your home’s curb appeal. It’s an affordable upgrade that can go a long way. People who drive onto your property will notice a driveway that’s in poor shape. Homeowners need not worry about ones which are in decent shape, but if potential buyers believe they’re off-roading instead of previewing a home, there’s a big problem.
You’ve nailed your home’s curb appeal, but have you pay attention to its digital appeal? We understand that 89% of all buyers and 93% of those thirty-five years of age and younger search for homes online.* It’s important to know a vast majority of homebuyers will seek out their future home via their smartphone, tablet or computer prior to experiencing it in person. Have you taken the proper steps to at least minimally stage your home and perhaps more importantly, utilize professional photography to showcase it online?
Keep in mind that the first showing of your home is online nowadays. It’s important as a homeowner that you gauge how consumers will view your property. Do your rooms appear smaller than they actually are? Are you making good use of angles and vantage points when taking photos? Do you have that money shot? Have you determined the time of the day that’s best to photograph rooms in your home?
Some real estate professionals do a great job at undertaking this task. Others will outsource a third party who specializes in producing professional photography specifically for homes entering the market. As a homeowner, it’s important to see a portfolio of options the real estate agent has for you at their disposal.
Your real estate agent can assist you in effectively pricing your home. This will allow you to expose your home to the largest pool of buyers in the right price range. Perhaps one of the worst things you can do is to price your home inconsistent with its fair market value!
Even if you’re in a hurry to move, pricing is probably the most important element of the game. Therefore, keeping your emotions at bay and delving into a market analysis, can put you on the best path for pricing perfection in today’s market. Have your real estate professional provide a detailed, customized comparable market analysis (CMA) for your property. This will help you and he/she arrive at a number that makes the most sense. Both time and money can play a factor here. It’s important to look at the big picture and weigh all the scenarios with your agent.
Pay Attention To The Details
So you’ve focused on the first three, great! Now what? If time permits, take a step back and begin to see the smaller glaring details that might stick out as eye sores to prospective purchasers. Are there light bulbs out around the house? Maybe a fixed leak in the ceiling still shows signs of an issue that doesn’t exist anymore? Maybe an appliance is in obvious need of repair/replacement? Whatever the issue, the seller should now turn their attention to these things, especially if time allows.
Don’t underestimate the small home repairs. Buyers tend to notice these, especially if they’re obvious. As a homeowner, pay attention to clutter, depersonalization, lighting, scent, cleanliness and staging. These are details that can make or break the potential for an offer!
* The National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Home Buyer & Seller General Trends
138 Marimar Drive – Birchwood Estates
Old Forge, PA 18518
Set up a private showing with Pat Rogan, REALTOR®, today. Complete the fields below.
One-Of-A-Kind Luxury Rental Community In Northeastern PA
At Birchwood Estates, our community and apartments are truly luxury and upscale apartments at a very affordable price. We plan on offering many amenities in the community including a walking trail and fitness center. We provide trash pickup, snow removal, secure premises and other services to our tenants. Our apartments are $1,250/month for a one bedroom and $1,500/month for a two bedroom.
This community of one and two bedroom upscale apartments is located in a very picturesque, quiet, residential area. Our designs and layouts are unique. We offer our tenants upscale, comfortable living at a very affordable cost. All of our apartments feature a litany of premium characteristics including hardwood floors, granite countertops, high-end appliances and fixtures.
The Old Forge Area
Birchwood Estates is located in the borough of Old Forge, PA. These unique one and two bedroom leases are located in a very quiet neighborhood near churches, schools, many restaurants and shopping areas. They are also within close proximity to hospitals and major interstate highways. What are you waiting for? Experience Old Forge and all Birchwood Estates has to offer – Schedule your showing today!
Set up a private showing with Pat Rogan, REALTOR®, today. Complete the fields below.
The stupendous world of real estate can sometimes be a tough nut to crack. It’s full of all sorts of highs and lows and in-betweens. There’s talk of interest rates and low inventory and pre-approvals. As a consumer, where do you even start?
Some from time-to-time have navigated these waters of uncertainty with prosperity, but for the vast majority of home buyers and sellers, a successful real estate professional is needed to guide and follow-through with the transaction. If you’ve recently entered the market or if you’re thinking about doing so and have little to no experience with either buying or selling, you might be confused as to how one would go about selecting a top-notch real estate agent. There are many great qualities you’ll want to keep your eyes opened for in discovering a good match: An agent’s tenacity, work ethic, organization, knowledge of the market, use of technology, use of social media, attention to detail and the like. However, we got even more specific and narrowed down the list.
We’ve laid out three indicators that you picked the right real estate agent:
He/She is always honest with you and it shows
In any relationship, honesty is a foundational virtue allowing the relationship to prosper and grow. So too in real estate, if your agent lacks the ability to be honest with you about the current market conditions, their schedule of availability, about what the other parties have said, etc. then he/she is not a good fit for you. Honesty can save you from unnecessary worry throughout the real estate process. Honesty is the backbone of any great REALTOR® – it will drive his/her decision-making process and it affects how he/she responds under pressure. And at times the truth hurts, but you may need to hear it. If an agent can be honest with you even when it may costs he/she some money in the process, you’ve found a superb trait for your agent to possess.
He/She is someone you love to work with
In life, we often don’t get a choice as to who we must interact with on a daily basis – a few of my old high school teachers I got stuck with immediately come to mind. There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy working with your real estate agent. This is an adventure of grand proportions, where you’ll be making one of the largest investments of your life. Don’t take the selection process lightly and don’t sign a buyer’s agency agreement (or at least not for a long period of time) until you have found an agent who you jive well with and have a great rapport. Communication is essential in any business, especially a real estate one. You need a professional that will pick up the phone to answer your call, follow-up on things right away and one who is a relationship-builder. When you enjoy being around a particular agent and you’re about to pursue buying or selling real estate, lock them up and sign a buyer’s agency agreement.
He/She doesn’t sit on the sidelines waiting for things to happen
The better real estate professionals understand they are not drones; they don’t just sit on the sidelines and take orders from their customers and clients. Successful agents are proactive. Successful agents will anticipate problems and possible solutions for those issues. They’ll be aggressive and look out for their client’s best interests. As a seller, if you’ve found a good agent, you’ll know it by how much of a priority you and your home is to him/her. As a buyer, you’ll know if you’ve connected with one if they treat you and your property search with the utmost importance.
Find A Home In Pennsylvania
Come find a home in Pennsylvania. Better yet, Northeastern PA (NEPA) is a wonderful place to live. I live in Dunmore, on the outskirts of Scranton City. It’s a great area to live, work and vacation.
Pennsylvania is full of blue collar workers, built on steel in the west and coal in the east. Many throughout the Commonwealth work in various trades. There’s opportunity for nurses, educators, contractors, just to name a few. There’s work and then there’s play too: Come see all that our beautiful state has to offer! Have you ever been to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon at Pine Creek Gorge? How about a trip to Dutch Wonderland? PNC Park? Independence Hall? Everhart Museum? Crayola Factory? What are you waiting for? These are a few of the interesting spots you can enjoy in our state today.
I know I sound like a PSA right about now, but an adventure does await you, especially if you’re a nature lover!
Biking, fishing, hiking, swimming, hunting, skiing – you name it, PA’s got it. If you’re not into the great outdoors, no worries either, there’s plenty of “non-nature” activities to tackle throughout the year as well.
Northeastern PA highlights so much of what works throughout the Commonwealth – the Baby Yanks (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees), the arts, high school football, great restaurants, universities and shopping/outlets. NEPA also has unique attributes which can be harder to find when you leave our region such as a superb variety of fantastic pizza, the Nicholson Bridge, Steamtown, Saint Ubaldo’s Festival, Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour and more!
Scranton is arguably the main hub of our area. I believe it’s a city making a slow-and-steady comeback. You know Scranton! Would it help if I said Dunder Mifflin?
I recently came across the following video by NBC News reporter/videographer, Matt Danzico, a Scranton native who produced an interesting piece on our region (as well as my hometown of Pittsburgh). He addressed a study’s claim, which was released roughly two years ago, where Scranton was found to be America’s unhappiest region. A little harsh? Perhaps, but I loved Danzico’s treatment of the survey and this Gawker’s article.
As someone who’s lived in Northeastern PA my entire life, I can tell you that I see a wonderful place to live, raise a family and get involved in community. Visit Pennsylvania. Visit NEPA… you’ll love it!
And The Winner Is…
Recently, we held our May gathering/awards reception at The Country Club of Scranton. On May 10, we announced the real estate awards 2017 winners for Top Producer, Quantum Leap, Social Butterfly, Rookie Of The Year and Community Service. Please help us in congratulating our 2017 winners:
Congrats to Melissa C. LeStrange for being awarded top producer in our firm! Realty Network Group, 570-585-6880, firstname.lastname@example.org #sold #realestate #keepingitrealestate #getrealtor #nepa #realestateagent #socialmediamarketing #wanttomove #justsold #homesforsale #realtor #realtynetwork #awards #realtorawards #realestateawards
Runner-Up To Top Producer
Congrats to Stacey Granza for being runner-up to our top producing agent! Realty Network Group, 570-585-6880, email@example.com #sold #realestate #keepingitrealestate #getrealtor #nepa #realestateagent #socialmediamarketing #wanttomove #justsold #homesforsale #realtor #realtynetwork #awards #realtorawards #realestateawards
Social Butterfly & Runner-Up
Congrats to Stacey Granza our most active agent on social media and runner-up Maria Muchal Berta! Realty Network Group, 570-585-6880, firstname.lastname@example.org #sold #realestate #keepingitrealestate #getrealtor #nepa #realestateagent #socialmediamarketing #wanttomove #justsold #homesforsale #realtor #realtynetwork #awards #realtorawards #realestateawards
Congrats to Alice L. Vanston our most serviceable agent (in the community)! Realty Network Group, 570-585-6880, email@example.com #sold #realestate #keepingitrealestate #getrealtor #nepa #realestateagent #socialmediamarketing #wanttomove #justsold #homesforsale #realtor #realtynetwork #awards #realtorawards #realestateawards
Congrats to Paul Mackrell for being awarded most improved agent at our firm! Paul wasn't in attendance at the time of the award presentation. Realty Network Group, 570-585-6880, firstname.lastname@example.org #sold #realestate #keepingitrealestate #getrealtor #nepa #realestateagent #socialmediamarketing #wanttomove #justsold #homesforsale #realtor #realtynetwork #awards #realtorawards #realestateawards
Rookie Of The Year
Congrats to Pat Rogan for being top new agent at our firm! Pat wasn't in attendance at the time of the award presentation. Realty Network Group, 570-585-6880, email@example.com #sold #realestate #keepingitrealestate #getrealtor #nepa #realestateagent #socialmediamarketing #wanttomove #justsold #homesforsale #realtor #realtynetwork #awards #realtorawards #realestateawards
104 Fairway Drive
Clarks Summit, PA 18411
Outdoor Space That Leaves A Lasting Impression
Situated in the Abingtons’ countryside, this featured listing is located between and within close proximity of two golf courses – The Country Club Of Scranton and Summit Hills Golf Course. This Victorian home is located in Newton Township with great access to the Morgan Highway, West Grove Street, Layton Road, schools, shopping, library, Scranton and more. Huge front and side yard are a real plus. This corner lot gives you the impression that you own half the street! Check out the large, multi-level deck, in-ground pool and patio area, which is perfect for hosting a party or gathering. The outdoor space is spectacular and enhances your views.
You can enjoy Northeastern Pennsylvania’s seasonal views from this listing’s wrap-around porch. The inviting foyer will surely welcome you home, but you can also enter from its two-car garage through the laundry/mud room into the kitchen as well. The kitchen features ample counter space, granite counter tops, Sub-Zero fridge with the bonus of a breakfast area. The formal dining room and living room, perhaps the focal point of this home, “sound” Victorian to the eyes and ears. The living room features French doors. The family room has a spacious quality to it, featuring a fireplace, French doors which lead into the kitchen and access to the deck/outside. The lower-level is finished and showcases an entertainment area in addition to a den. The master bedroom highlights bay window seating – just wait until you see the master bath! The other full bath on the second floor accentuates a marble-top vanity.
This new listing has four bedrooms and three baths, not to mention spacious rooms, windows aplenty, new remodeling, hardwood throughout and an artistic touch in every corner meant to inspire you. This is arguably the most prestigious area of the Abington Heights School District. This home is priced to sell and won’t be on the market long. Schedule your showing today!
Discover this featured home by taking the Morgan Highway to Country Club Road. Turn on Country Club Road and make a right on Fairway Drive. 104 Fairway Drive is the corner property immediately on your right.
Many things can add to the stress of placing your home on the market. There’s a timetable of when you hope to or worst yet, need to be out of your house. There are costs associated with the move from your prior home to your new one. You may even lack wiggle-room between your mortgage pay-off with closing costs and what you can get for your home on the current market. And yet, at the top of virtually every homeowner’s list is the dreaded preparation involved prior to putting your home on the market.
Here are four do-it-yourself (DIY) real estate tips for prepping your home to sell:
Appeal To First Impressions
Missing the mark on a first impression in the business world or in a job interview, can be detrimental to the relationship moving forward. The same absolutely applies to marketing a home in the wonderful world of real estate. In most cases, depending upon its presentation, the home can leave a potential buyer with a feeling of consideration, disregard, indifference or disgust. As a seller, your number one goal is getting buyers into your property. Curb appeal, professional photography, landscaping, smell, etc. attract or deter buyers. Do you best to appeal to first impressions with homebuyers, so you don’t miss opportunities to sell to the right ones.
Don’t forget: A home’s first impression begins online, the place where you’ll actually get the most “impressions”. For more on appealing to first impressions, click here.
Depersonalize Your Space
Homeowners would do well to step back from their home prior to listing it for sale. What I mean by this is having the ability to place yourself in a buyer’s shoes. You want to be able to see your property from the most objective point of view possible. Does your home “reek” of you? Are your photos and your personal artifacts obstructing a buyer’s imagination (see the photo above)?
Don’t forget: Get the advice of a friend who will tell it like it is. This is the advice you need while prepping your home for the market – the cold, hard truth!
More On Space
This leads us to our next important tip, which can be lost in all this appeal and “it’s not about you” talk… you want your home to be spacious and well-balanced. You might have a smaller home, but it can still give the perception of being spacious through proper staging deployment. Light, clutter, paint colors and the like all play a significant role in creating space, if you will. Do your rooms seem dark or confined? If they do, you would be wise to investigate sources of natural light, look at your window treatments, perhaps change the colors of the rooms and/or add artificial sources of light. Decluttering a room can really open it up as well.
Don’t forget: Empty/vacant rooms can make a home feel sterile and might actually feel uninviting to potential buyers. Strike a healthy balance between these two extremes: being constricting or empty. It would be best to consult a home-stager and/or real estate professional for further advice.
The Most Important Space
Staging/Remodeling your kitchen might be the single most important decision you can make while ramping up to sell your home. Clean, open and neutral are generally good guidelines to adhere to here, but this varies from market to market. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances presently appeal to many buyers as well. The impact of a kitchen can really resonate with today’s consumers. Don’t sleep on this one!
Don’t forget: This is the one room that can make or break a deal for you, so strongly consider upgrading yours before putting it on the market.
If you’re thinking about selling your home this year (and now’s a perfect time to do that), focus on these four selling tips first prior to listing it. Don’t stress about prepping your property. Call a REALTOR® today in order to create a schedule for getting it market ready in a manageable and reasonable amount of time.