Bette McTamney
Bette McTamney
4092 Skippack Pike, P.O. Box 880  Skippack, PA 19474
Phone: 610-584-1160 1505 |Office Phone: 610-584-1160 | Fax: 267-354-6985
Cell: 610-256-9619 | bmctamney@remax440.com

My Blog

Need a New Car? August is Best Month to Buy

August 12, 2014 2:15 am

Consumers looking to save on a new car or truck should do their shopping in August, according to the analysts at TrueCar. New car and truck prices during the past five years in August have averaged $29,296 – $169 lower than any other month.

“This is a great example of the power of data, which shows dealers are clearing out older inventory in August,” says TrueCar founder and CEO Scott Painter.

Conventional wisdom used to be that December was prime time for new car and truck buyers. However, TrueCar data reveals that prices in December average $31,146 – the most expensive month for new cars and $1,850 higher than August.

“Consumer buying trends have been turned upside down during the past decade due to the emergence of big data,” says Painter. “New car buyers are better educated because transparent pricing information is readily available online. And price–confident consumers create a better buying experience for themselves and car dealers.”

The next lowest average is July. The average August savings are $716 less than the median price for the rest of the year.

Source: TrueCar

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Your Finances: Manage Your Emergency Fund

August 12, 2014 2:15 am

Many people think that funding an emergency savings account is only necessary if you own something valuable, like a home or car. In reality, everyone should save for an emergency. No matter your budget, saving in any increment is better than not saving at all. Here are a few methods expert financiers rely on to contribute to their emergency funds.

Get into the habit of paying yourself first. When money comes in, make a concerted effort to set some aside for your emergency fund before taking care of other responsibilities. Waiting for leftover dollars at the end of the month is unrealistic and unsustainable.

Accumulate at your own pace. This is especially important for beginners like college students or entry-level employees. Avoid creating an emergency fund simply to get a new car or go on a vacation. Live with your old model and sacrifice a few trips while you build your fund.

Open an account. Set up an account – preferably one with direct deposit that isn’t attached to your checking account. If available, choose one that’s high-interest and won’t penalize you for dipping below a certain amount.

Save for retirement, too.
Saving doesn’t mean putting all of your eggs into one basket. Set up multiple accounts so that the money you’re saving is distributed appropriately, or pay your emergency fund, then save for retirement, then prioritize bills, investing and other expenses.

Avoid using it for debt. Savings accounts can be set up for all kinds of reasons, but try not to dip into your emergency fund to pay down debt. It’s better to create a separate account strictly for debt – that way, you won’t dig yourself deeper in the event of an emergency.

Don’t withdraw unless it’s an emergency.
What qualifies something as an emergency? For savvy savers, that means only when the unexpected happens. Unforeseen medical bills and necessary car repairs are good examples. Things you can plan in advance for, like holiday gifts, should not be funded by your emergency account.

Source: Zillow

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Fastest Growing, Top Paying Temp Jobs

August 11, 2014 1:39 am

What are the fastest growing and best paying temp jobs? From manufacturing and transportation to business and healthcare services, companies all over the country are in high demand for temporary employees across various industries and job-types.

According to an annual forecast by Careerbuilder, 42 percent of private sector employers plan to hire contract or temporary workers in 2014; that's up 36 percent from last year alone. Of these companies, 42 percent plan to offer some of their temporary workers permanent, full-time work.

The following list is comprised of occupations in the temporary help services industry that are projected to grow by at least three times the projected rate of all job growth, have more than 20,000 projected temporary workers employed by year end, and pay more than $16 per hour:
  • Registered Nurses (59,632)
  • Human Resources Specialists (58,016 jobs available)
  • Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses (37,895)
  • Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks (26,154)
  • Maintenance and Repair Workers (26,021)
  • Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers (24,276)
  • Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers (21,264)
  • Machinists (20,277)
  • Sales Representatives, Services (19,861)
Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. 2013.4 Class of Worker Dataset; Temporary Help Services Industry

Many of these fast growing opportunities not only offer higher wages, but also substantial career growth. Due to the tight labor market and hard-to-fill positions, many HR departments are outsourcing temporary staffing companies to fill these positions for them.

Source: Link Staffing Services

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Smartphone Technology Makes Homes Smart, Too

August 11, 2014 1:39 am

(Family Features) With apps that offer comfort, convenience and security, homeowners are getting more out of their smartphones to make their homes better, smarter places to live. Smart home apps link various home devices together to bring peace of mind, control and energy savings to homeowners.

These handheld, portable gadgets allow users to do everything from setting the thermostat to a comfy temperature to ensuring the garage door is closed. The best part is all of these helpful functions can be performed away from home, so homeowners can monitor their most valuable investment — even while out of town.

Here is a guide to new technologies that make homes smarter than ever before:

Make temperatures just right – Imagine coming home from a trip to learn your town is experiencing extreme weather conditions. There’s no need to worry about how hot or cold your home will be. Special apps allow you to control the temperature settings on the thermostat from your smartphone or tablet, so your home’s temperature will be just the way you like it when you arrive. These capabilities are also eco-friendly, allowing users to regulate the temperature while the home is unoccupied, which can mean big savings on energy bills.

Let a little sunlight in – Until recently, motorized window shades were a luxury only the rich and famous could enjoy — that is until smartphone technology came into play. With the touch of a finger, homeowners can now adjust their curtains and the natural light streaming into their rooms with one of several applications. These special systems even allow you to set a schedule for opening your shades, so you can wake up to natural light every morning.

Program favorites with ease – Have you ever misplaced your television’s remote control? Do you have a hard time remembering to record your favorite television programs before leaving the house? Both of these problems can be solved with your phone. By downloading an app to connect to your smart TV, you can instantly turn your phone into a remote control. This allows you to schedule your favorite show and film recordings from anywhere.

Save time in the kitchen and beyond
– Standard kitchen appliances are getting a technological upgrade. Cooks can now save time with apps that allow them to preheat, monitor food as it cooks and turn off the oven all from their phone. Many other appliances, such as washers and dryers, are also on board with connectivity. New apps allow homeowners to check laundry cycles and receive alerts when their clothes are clean and dry.

Keeping an eye on things
– Frequent travelers and businesspeople will love the remote monitoring capabilities available from various home security providers. With a few taps on your device, you can monitor your home from any location. This can even mean checking on Fido while out running errands.

Flip the switch
– When traveling, many people leave lights on inside their homes to deter thieves. Some smart apps allow you to control various lighting sources within your home through your smartphone or tablet. Now you won’t have to beg your neighbor to house sit while you’re away. Do you have a forgetful family member who always leaves on the lights? Save energy and money with the ability to turn off those lights from anywhere.

Source: Chamberlain

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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New Kitchen Floor Choices: Is One Right for You?

August 11, 2014 1:39 am

The kitchen floor, besides being practical, has become a major design statement—with a bigger choice of colors, styles and textures available today than ever before.

“You need to consider practicality first,” said Home and Garden TV’s Katie Allison Granju. “How much time do you spend in the kitchen? What’s most important to you?”

Granju offers a brief description of the newest flooring options to help you make the right decision:

Porcelain tile
—Porcelain tile is very durable, and is available in a wide range of colors, designs and prices. It is tough enough not to chip, crack or discolor under most circumstances – and more affordable than natural stone. Limestone, slate and travertine lend character to the room, but they are absorbent enough to stain to an extent and they tend to scratch more easily than porcelain.

Wood—Wood flooring is making a major comeback. Wood adds charm and comfort to the kitchen and is easily continued into adjacent rooms. Properly installed and maintained, wood floors are durable and easy to clean – especially if factory pre-treated with a polyurethane sealer, which eliminates the need for anything more than regular sweeping or mopping.

Cork—Soft, comfortable, and remarkably resistant, a cork floor “remembers” its shape, preventing furniture dents and scuffs. Dropped dishes and glasses probably won’t break on a cork floor – a bonus if you have small children – and cork is extremely water-resistant.

Brick—Brick flooring pavers come in many colors and textures, and they can be laid in interesting patterns. Like tile, they require some grout maintenance, but they are practically indestructible and offer a homey look reminiscent of the vintage farmhouse kitchen.

Rubber—Today’s manufacture rubber flooring is environmentally friendly, often made from recycled tires, and offers a dazzling array of colors. They are durable, easy to clean, and easily withstand busy kitchen traffic while offering busy cooks an easy-on-the-feet surface.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Give Your Home an Annual Checkup

August 8, 2014 1:54 am

(BPT) - There's no better time than now to give your home the attention it deserves. Give your windows and doors an annual checkup before cold weather arrives to help add comfort, save energy and cut home maintenance in the long-run.

Inspect interior and exterior finishes. Over time, paint and stain can weather away. Flaking or peeling may mean that it's time to refinish or replace the unit. When replacing windows or doors, consider factory prefinished wood, fiberglass or vinyl options that don't need painting or staining.

Look for damaged exterior surfaces or signs of leaks.
Check your sprinkler system to make sure it's watering your lawn and landscape, not soaking your windows or doors. Cracked or deteriorated wood may be a sign of water penetration. Leaks can linger and affect interior walls, floors or ceilings, so look closely for discoloration or other moisture signs.

If you spot a problem, track its trail. For example, discolored trim around a window might actually be caused by moisture entering a ways away. With a leaky roof, water may run down inside the wall and appear at the window. Contact a professional for help in making home repairs.

Clear windowsills and tracks of dirt and debris. Sand, leaves, insects or pine needles stuck in weather-stripping can affect the performance of your windows and doors. Open the windows and clean the opening with a soft brush, like a dry paint brush or vacuum attachment. Do the same for sliding patio doors.

Try opening and closing.
Open your windows and doors to make sure moving parts work, and units close properly. Replace worn or broken parts.

Inspect weather-stripping.
Re-attach loose weather-stripping around windows or doors, and replace material that's ripped or torn.

Replace or repair broken locks. If locks feel loose or don't work smoothly, replace them. Keep windows and doors locked when not in use. Locks help hold doors and windows tightly, to lock out rain, wind, snow and insects.

Inspect weep and breather holes.
Weep holes on the exteriors of windows allow excess moisture to escape, while breather holes allow air exchange within certain components. Clear blocked holes of dirt or debris with a wire or toothpick.

Check exterior sealants and caulk on and around windows and doors. Pay attention to areas susceptible to rain, water and extreme sunlight. Remove damaged material and reapply sealant.

Feel for signs of air leakage around the window or door. Improperly installed windows or doors can be drafty, decrease energy efficiency, and allow unwanted moisture into your home. To help save on utility bills and keep your home more comfortable year-round, replace drafty old, leaky windows with new, ENERGYSTAR-qualified versions.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Five Questions to Ask before Buying a Tablet

August 8, 2014 1:54 am

Whether you need a tablet for business or pleasure, buying one requires some leg work. With so many varieties available, it’s important to invest in a model that meets your needs and budget. Before buying a tablet, prepare by asking yourself these five questions.

What’s my budget?
First, decide whether to stick to a budget or splurge on a higher-end version. Some tablets are more expensive because they come loaded with features you may not need, or add-ons like a stylus or office software. Think about how you’ll purpose your tablet before spending too much on a product you won’t use.

Which operating system is right for me?
There are three operating systems available on tablets: Apple’s iOS, Android or Windows. If you already have a desktop or laptop with one system, it may be a no-brainer to keep things consistent. By using the same system across multiple devices, you can use all of the same apps and sync your documents and photos seamlessly.

What size do I need?

Many tablets come with pint-sized alternatives, such as the iPad and iPad Air or iPad Mini. Most tablet users opt for 7- to 9-inch screens, but it’s important to choose the correct size for your viewing pleasure. If you plan to use the tablet to take photos, for example, you might buy one with a smaller screen. On the other hand, if you’re using it to enjoy books or magazines, you may want to get one that’s large enough for reading.

How will I connect to the Internet?
Depending on your needs, you can purchase a tablet that is Wi-Fi only or one that is 4G-enabled. 4G capabilities cost more, but might be an option for those who need Internet access on the go. With a Wi-Fi version, you won’t have to pay a 4G bill every month.

Will I need a keyboard?

If you plan to use your tablet to type, you may want one that connects easily to a keyboard stand. Some tablets are actually detachable parts of a laptop whole, while others have keyboards as an added expense. Whichever you choose, take time to factor that, as well as protective cases and accessories, into your budget.

Source: Consumer Reports

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Know Your Rights: Mortgage Servicing Deadlines

August 8, 2014 1:54 am

The first step on the path to homeownership is deciding which mortgage company to work with. With so many lenders and loan options, it’s important to research each contender thoroughly before borrowing.

Consider selecting a lender that abides by these deadlines:

1. The lender credits on time. The lender must credit the payment the day it is received. In addition, make sure you are set up with periodic billing statements that indicate not only the payment due, but the balance on your loan and the escrow balance.

2. The lender contacts you on time. If you default on your mortgage, the lender is required to contact you no more than 36 days after the missed payment. They must also provide you with loss mitigation options in writing by the 45th day of delinquency.

3. The lender evaluates on time. Your modification application must be reviewed within 30 days. If the application is incomplete, the lender must inform and advise as to the best course of action.

4. The lender processes on time. If your home faces foreclosure, the lender cannot begin or complete that process during a loss evaluation (unless you’ve submitted an application 37 days prior to the scheduled foreclosure.)

5. The lender informs on time. If your lender thinks you did not keep your homeowners insurance, the lender must send you two notices before charging for force-placed insurance. If you send evidence to the contrary, your lender must cancel the insurance within 15 days of receiving it.

Source: Bankrate

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Relocating for Work? Small Communities Offer Big Opportunities

August 7, 2014 1:18 am

Folks looking to relocate to hot job markets may think they have to aim for major metropolitan areas with their higher than average housing markets. But the latest survey I reviewed from the U.S. Census bureau may be surprising.

It was oil- and gas-rich areas in and near the Great Plains that boasted many of the fastest-growing communities in the U.S. last year, with areas along and near the Gulf Coast also featuring several high-growth communities. In fact, all of the 10 fastest-growing micro areas between 2012 and 2013 were west of the Mississippi River.

The Census Bureau survey shows that of the nation's 10 fastest-growing metropolitan markets during the year ending July 1, 2013, six were within or near the Great Plains, including Austin-Round Rock, Odessa, and Midland, Texas; Fargo and Bismarck, North Dakota; and Casper, Wyoming.

The nation's other fastest-growing metro areas between 2012 and 2013 were The Villages, Florida, whose population rose by 5.2 percent in that brief period. The Gulf Coast metro areas of Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Ala., and Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., also made the top 10 list.

U.S. metro areas with populations of 1 million or more in 2012 grew 1.0 percent, compared with 0.5 percent for those with populations of less than 250,000. While the bureau survey says the 1,335 counties not inside either a metro area or micro area had a collective population decline of 35,674 between 2012 and 2013, with more than six in 10 of these counties losing population.

The nation's metro areas contained 269.9 million people in 2013, up about 2.3 million from 2012.

New York continued to be the most populous metro area, with 19.9 million residents on July 1, 2013, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago. While Houston had the largest numeric increase between 2012 and 2013, gaining about 138,000 people.

Conversely, the Census Bureau survey says its "Micropolitan Top 10" are Williston, N.D., (first in growth at 10.7 percent), followed by Dickinson, N.D.; Andrews, Texas; Minot, N.D.; and two areas in western Oklahoma (Weatherford and Woodward) along with Hobbs, New Mexico.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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8 Ways to Update Your Living Room without Spending a Lot of Cash

August 7, 2014 1:18 am

If you’re tired of looking at the same old living space, but can’t afford new furniture, California room designer Erin Pedersen suggests eight ways to give your living room new life without spending a lot of money:

Rearrange it
– Simply repositioning the furniture can make a huge difference. Cut out paper pieces to scale and waltz them around a sheet of paper cut to match your room until you find a new arrangement that works.

Paint it – A fresh coat of paint can do wonders to change the look of a room, especially if you contrast your chosen wall color against white baseboards and woodwork.

Add a rug – Whether your floors are wood or carpeted, an inexpensive area rug can liven up a space with little cost or effort.

Swap out artwork and accessories
– Changing out a few of the knick knacks in the room – and/or the prints hanging on the walls – can breathe new life into the space. Accessories are among the least expensive pieces in a room, so start over when you tire of them.

Make it seasonal
– Speaking of accessories, set a bowl of seashells on the mantelpiece in summer, and accessorize with beach or pastel pieces. In winter, switch to baskets of pine cones and candles in autumn’s deeper hues..

Throw in the pillows – Adding splashes of color is another great way to liven up a room. Comb the home store for pillow colors you want to live with.

Light it up
– If you have an overhead fixture, think about replacing it with something more contemporary. If you’re happy with the fixture, help bounce light around the room with a couple of new table lamps or wall sconces.

Paper it
– Wallpaper, out of fashion over the past few years, is now making something of a comeback. Try papering one wall for accent. Try one of the new repositional papers you can peel off and toss if you tire of it.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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