Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Floor the Competition

When people enter your home they usually look down before up, so that first step is vital for attracting a homebuyer and making a great first impression. This is one reason why more people are installing hardwood floors in their homes.

Hardwood flooring enhances the look of any room and can create a classic ambiance that will beautify the interior design of your home. Residential real estate agents agree that homes with wood floors hold their value better, sell faster and fetch higher prices.

Last year, 99 percent of real estate agents responding to a national survey conducted by the National Wood Flooring Association agreed that homes with hardwood floors are easier to sell. The survey also found that 82 percent believe that homes with hardwood floors sell faster and 90 percent said they would sell for more money.

The American Hardwood Information Center adds that restoring hardwood flooring in the home is one of the best long-term investments to be made.

“Hardwood floors are environmentally friendly, forever fashionable, and will last for generations,” said Pembroke Jacobs, president of the Hardwood Manufacturers Association. “Plus, with an expected life span of up to 100 years for certain premium hardwood flooring, you can be assured that that the hardwood really is a one-time investment with a very long-term payoff.”

Real estate agents also agree that carpeting does not impress potential buyers, but hardwood floors are always a draw. Engineered wood floors impart warmth, depth and richness to a home’s decor that cannot be matched by carpeting, tile or vinyl flooring.
Despite the existence of modern architectural trends in flooring, hardwood can still compete with floor tiles and other artificial materials. It comes in a variety of colors and grains; light, medium, or dark shades; and a variety of sizes, styles, finishes and species.

Maple, mahogany and oak are the most popular woods, but some homeowners are investing in exotics such as Brazilian cherry and purpleheart.

The Environmental Protection Agency has said that indoor air quality is one of the top health threats and wood floors can help contribute to a healthy living environment. In fact, a recent EPA study found that pesticides used in gardens and homes accumulate on floors and other surfaces in the home, but that wood floors greatly reduce the accumulation of such toxins. Hardwood floors also do not trap or harbor dust mites or molds.

Though wood floors will probably need to be refinished at some point, when properly taken care of they are much easier to maintain than other floor surfaces.

The NWFA recommends regular sweeping of hardwood floors with a soft-bristle broom or dust mop to remove surface dirt and debris. If your floor contains beveled edges, it recommends using a vacuum with a soft bristle brush attachment to remove dirt and debris from between the floorboards.

Having hardwood floors could be the difference between selling your home or watching a potential buyer walk out the door on a less-appealing type of flooring.

Prudential Fox & Roach is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

10 Ways to Protect Your Family From Fires

10 Ways to Protect Your Family From Fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

In 2009 there were 1,348,500 fires reported in the U.S., resulting in over 3,000 deaths, 17,050 injuries and property damage of $12.5 billion. One home fire was reported every 87 seconds. Households can expect to average a home fire every 15 years, or five fires in an average lifetime.

Pretty sobering statistics, which suggest it’s just a question of time before the average household is faced with the task of dealing with fire. The good news is that fire deaths have slowly declined over the past decade, due in large part to greater fire prevention awareness. In case of fire, the difference between death and survival is often simple preparedness and practice.

Here then are 10 ways to protect your family from fires:

Fire Prevention Equipment

Install smoke detectors on every floor, place one outside each sleep area.
Check smoke detector batteries every 6 months, at the same time you’re re-setting your clocks for daylight savings.
Another option is hard-wired smoke detectors. The advantage of these is that you will hear the alarm throughout the house regardless of which individual unit detects smoke or fire.
Purchase several ABC- class fire extinguishers for various locations such as the kitchen, utility room, hallway, and garage.
Train each family member in their proper operation, and when to use them.
Residential fire sprinkler systems have become very affordable, and can enhance the market value of your home considerably. Check out some other advantages at FEMA.
Fire Escape Planning

Draw an escape plan for your home.
Discuss with each family member where the escape routes are.
Identify two exits for every room in your home.
Practice fire escapes, in daylight and at night, at least twice a year.
Establish a meeting place near the home for the family to gather after evacuating.
Have the phone numbers for emergency personnel and nearby contacts programmed into your home and cell phones. Make sure every family member knows who to call, and how to call them.

Home Heating Precautions

Have chimneys and wood stoves inspected and cleaned at least once a year.
Wood stoves should be installed near walls made of fire-resistant material.
Fireplaces equipped with glass doors should burn with doors open to avoid creosote buildup in chimney. Close doors when fire is out.
Stack firewood away from house.
Space heaters should be placed away from all objects, and have a tip-over shut-off switch.
Kitchen Safety

Never leave cooking unattended. This is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen.
Keep flammable items like oven mitts and potholders away from the stove top.
Avoid wearing clothing that can come into contact with cooking surfaces (long sleeves, loose-fitting clothes).
Never use metal objects or aluminum foil in microwave ovens.
If fire erupts in your microwave oven, unplug it and leave the door closed.
Stay Plugged-in (Electrical Issues)

Discard extension cords or electrical devices which have frayed or damaged wiring or plugs.
Install safety covers over electrical outlets in households with small children.
Never bypass or remove the grounding terminal on three-prong plugs.
Be aware of the maximum current rating for each circuit in your home; never exceed their limits.
Do not run electrical cords in traffic areas or under rugs.
Smoking Savvy

If you must smoke, take it outside.
Use ashtrays that are sturdy and deep-sided.
Consider switching to fire-safe cigarettes, which are made with paper that burns slower.
Try using ashtrays or buckets filled with sand to ensure those butts are extinguished, and
Make sure they are before emptying those trays.
Put Your Worries to Bed

Keep bedroom doors closed at night. In the event of fire, they offer protection and help limit the spread of fire.
Check that electric blanket for faulty wiring. Make sure it’s UL-approved.
Pre-2007 mattresses should be replaced with newer ones meeting the 2007 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard.
Candles in the Wind

Never leave burning candles unattended.
Candles should be placed in sturdy, non-flammable holders and positioned where they won’t be easily knocked over.
Keep matches out of children’s reach.
Keep candles away from drapes, which can blow into the flame or knock the candle over.
Car Care

Check vehicles regularly for fluid leaks or faulty wiring.
Examine exhaust system for excessive smoke plumes or leaks.
Avoid smoking in vehicles.
Keep a fire extinguisher in each of your vehicles.
Stormy Weather

Unplug electrical appliances during a storm.
Turn off air-conditioners.
Stay off corded phones.
Ensure outdoor antennae, electrical lines are properly grounded.
As you can see, fire prevention is 90% common sense. Preparedness, the other 10%, is really nothing more than putting that common sense into practice. Knowing what causes fires, or even how to prevent them, is a good start; but the difference between knowing and putting that knowledge to work, could be the difference between surviving and becoming another statistic.

Monday, April 4, 2011



Shred all those old documents that have been accumulating quickly and dispose of sensitive papers safely - while you watch!

APRIL 16, 2011 10am-12pm

Prudential Fox and Roach Realtors
1600 North Bethlehem Pike Suite 100
Lower Gwynedd, PA 19002