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Gail Hoover
4789 Route 309
Center Valley  PA 18034
 Phone: 610-791-4400
Office Phone: 610-791-4400
Cell: 610-217-8136
Fax: 267-354-6890 
gailhoover@aol.com
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Gail Hoover

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Investing in Land? Don't Go at It Alone

August 15, 2016 12:40 am


(BPT)—Savvy investors know a diversified portfolio can protect against volatility in the market. Land ownership, especially forestland, can be one of the most advantageous investments during swings—but as with any other potential asset, it is important to begin with a few considerations.

According to Bird & Crawford Forestry (BirdandCrawford.com), some of these considerations include:

• When should you plant trees?
• How can you protect wildlife?
• How should you manage vegetation?
• Should you harvest any timber?

An expert forest consultant can assist in answering these questions—foresters offer broad-based knowledge about the characteristics of forestland and economics of timberland management, as well as sensitivity to the issues important to forestland owners. According to Bird & Crawford, forest consultants are experienced in management strategies, which include obtaining knowledge of the existing and/or potential natural resources on the property; developing plans for long-term upkeep, e.g., planting and/or harvesting schedules, conservation efforts, hunting lease management; and establishing goals for the property, e.g., protecting family assets.

A real estate professional specializing in forestland is also an important ally—he or she can assist in not only locating property, but also in determining the best investment course of action.

Hiring both of these professionals will not only widen the potential for profit in the near-term, but also help forge a lasting legacy for family in the future.

For more information on forestland investment, contact a real estate professional or visit BirdandCrawford.com.

Source: Bird & Crawford Forestry
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Ranking the Most Profitable Markets for Flips

August 15, 2016 12:40 am


Flipping houses is once again a viable avenue for investors, with last year seeing the most flippers in the market since before the recession. Investors in flipped houses currently average $55,000 in gross profit.

Some markets, however, offer returns that exceed the average—and then some. Personal finance website WalletHub.com recently ranked the most profitable markets for flips, where factors like median purchase price and remodeling costs lead to lucrative outcomes.

Pittsburgh, according to WalletHub’s ranking, posts the highest average gross return on flips at 129.5 percent—six times higher than Austin, Texas, which has the lowest average gross return at 21.2 percent.

Per the ranking, San Jose, Calif. has the highest median purchase price for flips at $580,000; Cleveland has the lowest at $45,000.

The lowest remodeling costs for flips are in Little Rock, Ark., averaging $75,888, according to WalletHub’s ranking. The highest remodeling costs are in Boston, at an average $377,598.

Weighing all factors, the top 20 in the ranking are:

1. Sioux Falls, S.D.
2. Fort Wayne, Ind.
3. El Paso, Texas
4. Oklahoma City, Okla.
5. Lincoln, Neb.
6. Lubbock, Texas
7. Tampa, Fla.
8. New Orleans, La.
9. Boise, Idaho
10. Laredo, Texas
11. Tulsa, Okla.
12. Corpus Christi, Texas
13. Nashville, Tenn.
14. Peoria, Ariz.
15. Cape Coral, Fla.
16. Gilbert, Ariz.
17. Des Moines, Iowa
18. Pembroke Pines, Fla.
19. Springfield, Mo.
20. Grand Rapids, Mich.

Source: WalletHub.com
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The 10 Priciest Vacation Areas

August 12, 2016 12:37 am


Travel costs are high come peak season, but in some vacation areas, they exceed those of even the most expensive international destinations.

According to a recent CheapHotels.org survey, the priciest accommodations, at the basic cost level, are in:

• Saratoga Springs, N.Y. ($332 per night)
• Nantucket, Mass. ($329 per night)
• Montauk, N.Y. ($326 per night)
• Santa Monica, Calif. ($271 per night)
• Portland, Maine ($267 per night)

The Northeast markedly contains the majority of the most costly vacation accommodations, with visitors to Saratoga Springs spending an average $332 per night for the least expensive double room.

Cape May, N.J. ($246), Newport, R.I. ($234), Provincetown, Mass. ($232), Calistoga, Calif. ($227) and Beverly Hills, Calif. ($221) round out the top 10 vacation areas with the priciest accommodations, according to the survey.

Source: CheapHotels.org
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Veteran Homelessness Down by Half

August 12, 2016 12:37 am


Over the past five years, the amount of homeless veterans has dropped by close to 50 percent, marking significant progress in the Obama Administration’s initiative to end veteran homelessness. Less than 40,000 veterans are homeless, as of the beginning of this year.

The reduction comes as a result of the Opening Doors program, which involved the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), and other agencies at the federal, state and local levels.

The HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program has been instrumental in the success of the initiative, as well as the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness charge, which has helped eradicate veteran homelessness in two states and nearly 30 communities to date.

“We have an absolute duty to ensure those who’ve worn our nation’s uniform have a place to call home,” HUD Secretary Julian Castro said in a statement. “While we’ve made remarkable progress toward ending veteran homelessness, we still have work to do to make certain we answer the call of our veterans, just as they answered the call of our nation.”

HUD urges veterans who are experiencing homelessness (or are at risk of becoming homeless) to call 1-877-4AID-VET, or their local VA Medical Center.

Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Mortgage Rates Circle Low

August 12, 2016 12:37 am


Mortgage rates continue to circle historic lows, extending opportunity for homebuyers and refinancers, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), which found the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaging 3.45 percent.

“A surprisingly strong July jobs report showed 255,000 jobs added and 0.3 percent wage growth from last month, exceeding many experts’ expectations,” said Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, in a statement. “In response, the 10-Year Treasury yield rose to its highest level since June and the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased 2 basis points to 3.45 percent.”

According to the survey, the 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage averages 2.76 percent, and the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averages 2.74 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Ways to Start Saving Without Feeling the Pinch

August 11, 2016 12:37 am


Saving money is challenging when your sole focus is on paying the bills—but financial planners concede there are at least five ways to get savings underway, no matter your circumstances:

Start a Budget Based on Fact, Not Fantasy – The first step toward a workable budget (and savings plan) is knowing where your money goes. For 30 days, track every single daily expense, from paying the gas bill to picking up the dry cleaning to the ice cream cones you bought for the kids. Once you’ve added it all up, compare the total to your income.

Find and Trim the Fat – What can you live without? Cull any services you really don’t need—the all-inclusive cable plan, a rarely-used gym membership, a morning latte every day on the way to work.

Save Your Change – Get into the habit of emptying your pocket or purse each night into a piggy bank. You’ll never miss it, and you'll be amazed at how quickly the change adds up.

Boost Your Income – There are many ways to make extra pocket money these days, from getting a part-time job, to selling items on eBay, to participating in a paid online survey. You may even be able to channel your talents—photography, ad writing, Pie-baking, Babysitting—into a lucrative sideline.

Start with an Emergency Fund – Place your initial savings into an emergency fund. Determine a safe balance to work toward—once you've met that balance, move your savings into an interest-bearing account.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Going to Pot! What's in Your Kitchen?

August 11, 2016 12:37 am


I've been mulling over the idea to replace some of my kitchenware for some time. So, I checked in with Katie, the nationally-known "Wellness Mama," (WellnessMama.com), to find out how to best go about obtaining new pots and pans.

The Wellness Mama herself is a fan of X-trema Cookware, because they're the most inert cookware she's found—they don’t leach anything into food.

They are also easy to clean, Katie says, with a non-scratch cooking surface that heats evenly and holds flavor. They are dishwasher-, oven-, microwave- and stove-safe, too.

Cast iron is another of Katie's favorites, ideal for cooking meats and for deep-frying (so long as you don’t scrub it with soap and a Brillo pad!). Cast iron can be used in the oven or on the stove top, and even on a camp fire.

Some fast facts about cast iron:

It's tough. There’s a reason why there are old cast iron pans at yard sales and antique shops.

It holds heat. Once cast iron is hot, it stays hot.

It holds flavor. Every time you cook in your cast iron pan, you season it.

It imparts iron. During the cooking process, a small amount of iron is absorbed into the foods.

What's cookware's in your kitchen?
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Check These Late Summer Tips to Ready Your Home for Fall

August 11, 2016 12:37 am


Fall is fast approaching, and with it, the need for home maintenance. According to DIYNetwork.com, the most important tasks for late summer are:

Painting the Exterior

Lower humidity and cooler temperatures make late summer and early fall ideal times to paint the exterior of the home.

Cleaning Gutters and Downspouts

Clear all drainage areas of leaves and debris, and consider installing gutter guards.

Inspecting the Roof

Hire a licensed professional to examine the roof for wear and tear. (If the shingles are buckling, cracking or curling, it is time to replace them.) Be sure the professional assesses the flashing around chimneys, pipes and/or skylights.

Turning Off Hose Valves

Turn off the valves to exterior hose bibs to prevent water pipes from bursting when the weather dips below freezing. Wrap pipes that run along exterior walls with heating tape.

Replacing Filters

Replace the filter in the furnace or heating system. Consider consulting with a licensed heating contractor to inspect and servicethe unit before the season turns.

Checking Insulation

Check the insulation in the attic to ensure the vapor barrier is facing down toward the living space.Cut slits in the vapor barrier to allow moisture to escape.

For more seasonal maintenance tips, visit DIYNetwork.com.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Housekeeping: 8 Time-Saving Tips

August 10, 2016 12:31 am


Nobody wants to spend more time than necessary on chores—or spend more on cleaning supplies. Good Housekeeping recently rounded up eight tips to save both:

1. Make One All-Purpose Cleaner – Combine four tablespoons of baking soda with four cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Use the spray and a rag to make any household surface shine.

2. Spruce Up Wood Furniture – Scratched wood furniture? Mask the damage by rubbing it with a walnut (shell removed).

3. Brush Away Stains – Use toothpaste to remove marker stains from wood—a handy solution when kids draw at the dining room table! (Bonus: To clean off wall doodles, sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub.)

4. Unclog a Drain for Cheap – Don’t spend on costly drain cleaners. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain with a wet cloth, and let the agents work for 30 minutes.

5. Sanitize the Cutting Board – Rub the cut side of a lemon over a cutting board to remove odors and stains. For extra cleaning power, sprinkle it first with salt or baking soda.

6. De-Grime Patio Furniture – Wipe down patio furniture with a squirt of dishwashing liquid in bucket of warm water. Hose it down afterwards.

7. Vinegar Those Windows – It’s cheap and effective. Add two tablespoons of vinegar to a gallon of water. Pour some in a spray bottle. Squirt and wipe it away with clean microfiber cloth.

8. Lift Shirt Stains – Never spend on spot cleaners or stain removers again. Rub dish detergent into the stain and rinse the shirt before tossing it into the washer.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Do You Know the 3 Keys to Home Staging?

August 10, 2016 12:31 am


Staging your home while it’s on the market is one of the most effective ways to sell it for top dollar.

Start by addressing natural light, say the experts at Stagetecture.com. Ample natural light makes the home appear larger and inviting. Avoid minimizing natural light with heavy window treatments—instead, hang sheers, and open them during showings.

Next, look to the outside of the home. Does the property have appeal? Hang mirrors across from the windows to accentuate scene-stealing views.

Inside the home, assess the color palette. Are the walls dark and closed-in? Consider repainting them with lighter colors to brighten the interior, Stagetecture.com’s experts recommend.

Above all, remember these three key tips:

Don't leave clutter in plain sight.
Make it easy for buyers to visualize their lives in your home. Tackle the noticeable areas, like counters and tables. Are there other areas, such as an entry closet doubling as general storage, that should be tended to, too? If there is an overabundance of personal items in your home, consider paring down.

Avoid staging with items that date the home.
Stage with contemporary styling. Remove old or worn furniture, pack away collectibles from earlier eras and hide décor that convey a sense of the home's age.

Don't fill rooms with furniture.
It is tempting to fill each room with furniture when staging it, but too many pieces can make the space feel crowded. Work toward creating a sense of purpose for the room while maintaining an open-concept look.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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