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Steve Sisman's Blog

"Keeping Real Estate Simple"

By Stephen E. Sisman | Agent in Media, PA
  • Consumer Advocates Say Auto Insurers Punishing Loyal Consumers

    Posted Under: Quality of Life, Home Selling, Property Q&A  |  September 13, 2014 9:46 AM  |  34 views  |  No comments
    Stephen Sisman

    Stephen Sisman

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238
    877.614.2401 ID# 0
    steve@stevesisman.com
    1400 North Providence Rd
    Suite 1000
    Media, PA 19063


    My Website

    Consumer Advocates Say Auto Insurers Punishing Loyal Consumers


    Insurance companies are using data analysis to figure out who’s likely to shop when premiums rise and that makes it critical to shop around each year or risk overpaying for coverage, say insurance experts at the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

    CFA Director of Insurance J. Robert Hunter, a former Texas Insurance Commissioner, says you can’t assume your company isn’t overcharging you just because you’re given a “loyalty discount.” Your company may be increasing your premium by far more than your loyalty discount, precisely because you have been so loyal.

    “Even if you have a perfect driving record, many insurance companies are raising rates on people just like you – people who do not shop around,” Hunter says. “Newly revealed insurance practices show that reasons you might be vulnerable to price increases are such things as staying with one insurer for many years, never calling the company with complaints or simply buying your insurance through an agent rather than online.”

    The practice, called price optimization (PO), combines personal consumer data and statistical models to predict how much of a price increase you’ll tolerate before you shop around for a better price. The company then uses the calculation to raise your premium even if you’ve never caused an accident or gotten a ticket.

    To avoid being PO-ed by your insurance company you have to shop around. Research shows:

    • 24 percent of drivers never shop for auto insurance
    • 34 percent rarely shop
    • 16 percent only shop every few years

    That means three-quarters of policyholders are sitting ducks for price optimization, Hunter says.

    “Even before the advent of price optimization it was very important to shop for insurance since prices vary so widely. But now, to avoid being PO-ed, shopping is critical,” he concluded.
     


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    Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. Tax articles in this e-newsletter are not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
    Powered by
    Copyright © HomeActions, LLC All rights reserved.
    Courtesy of: 

    Stephen E. Sisman


    CSP, e-Pro, REALTOR,

    Designated Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource,

    Certified Short Sale Master Default Intermediary,


    Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist,

    Associate Leadership Counsel Alumnus,

    a member of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce,

    a member of the Delaware Small Business Chamber,

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238

    Keller Williams Real Estate
    1-877-614-2401 toll free
    610.565.1995
     main 
    610.357.6101 mobile
    1400-1000 N Providence Road, Media, PA 19063 * 610.565.2001 fax
    steve@stevesisman.com * www.SteveSisman.com A caring professional helping friends, neighbors and family achieve stress free real estate transactions...Oh and by the way, I'm never too busy for your referrals!
  • Handy Tool Makes It Easier To Do Critical Home Inventory

    Posted Under: Quality of Life, Home Selling, Property Q&A  |  September 13, 2014 9:44 AM  |  31 views  |  No comments
    Stephen Sisman

    Stephen Sisman

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238
    877.614.2401 ID# 0
    steve@stevesisman.com
    1400 North Providence Rd
    Suite 1000
    Media, PA 19063


    My Website

    Handy Tool Makes It Easier To Do Critical Home Inventory


    Setting aside a few minutes to create (or update) an inventory of your personal possessions will pay off if you ever have to file a homeowners insurance claim.

    Get the job done quickly with the Know Your Stuff® app for iPhone and androids from the Insurance Information Institute (III).

    No matter how you choose to do it, the important thing is to create a home inventory and update it when you make major purchases. An up-to-date home inventory will:

    • Help you purchase the right amount and type of insurance.
    • Make filing a claim as simple as possible.
    • Substantiate your financial losses for tax purposes or when applying for financial assistance.

    You can use the Know Your Stuff® - Home Inventory website to set up an online account and store information about your insurance policies.

    The software guides you through the process of creating and updating your home inventory, allowing you to set up rooms and list items within those rooms. You can also upload photographs and scanned receipts or appraisal forms, and generate several types of reports once your inventory is complete, or if you need to file a claim.

    The software includes free, secure online storage at Amazon, so you can access your inventory anywhere, anytime—which can be important should you need to evacuate your home in a sudden emergency.

    Not An App User?

    If you’re not into phone apps, creating a photo inventory is a great way to document your possessions if you ever have to file an insurance claim.

    Start by creating a few photos of each room or area. Stand in different regions of the room and take several broad photos. Once done, tackle individual items. Take multiple photos of objects to capture the backside, inside, details, brand or model name, serial numbers, etc.
     
    Create A File Naming System

    To make it easier to find things in your inventory, create a photo file-naming system when you move the pictures from your camera to your computer.

    For example, you can name each picture based on the room, item, age and cost. So if you have a drill in the garage that you bought in 2014 for $125, the file name would be: Garage_drill_2014_$125.

    Add the photo file names when you transfer your pictures to your computer. As you build your catalog and photograph the items, periodically print out the list for safekeeping and check for accuracy.

    Save A Backup

    As you work, print out a running copy of your inventory list and store it in a safe place. If you like, add a thumbnail view photo beside each item name.

    Check your photo software to see if it offers a gallery or catalog lay out. That's a good option for organizing your photos.

    Once your inventory-taking project is complete, save a master copy of your written list on a flash drive, print out your photos or organize them in a photo book. Store the book or photos in a location other than your home. A bank safe deposit box or a relative's home that's not nearby are good options.

    You can also take advantage of free, unlimited storage for life of all your photos at MailPix.


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    Your Privacy
    Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. Tax articles in this e-newsletter are not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
    Powered by
    Copyright © HomeActions, LLC All rights reserved.

    Courtesy of: 

    Stephen E. Sisman


    CSP, e-Pro, REALTOR,

    Designated Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource,

    Certified Short Sale Master Default Intermediary,


    Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist,

    Associate Leadership Counsel Alumnus,

    a member of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce,

    a member of the Delaware Small Business Chamber,

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238

    Keller Williams Real Estate
    1-877-614-2401 toll free
    610.565.1995
     main 
    610.357.6101 mobile
    1400-1000 N Providence Road, Media, PA 19063 * 610.565.2001 fax
    steve@stevesisman.com * www.SteveSisman.com A caring professional helping friends, neighbors and family achieve stress free real estate transactions...Oh and by the way, I'm never too busy for your referrals!
  • Helping Your College-Age Child Manage Credit Card Debt

    Posted Under: Quality of Life, Home Selling, Property Q&A  |  September 13, 2014 9:42 AM  |  30 views  |  1 comment
    Stephen Sisman

    Stephen Sisman

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238
    877.614.2401 ID# 0
    steve@stevesisman.com
    1400 North Providence Rd
    Suite 1000
    Media, PA 19063


    My Website

    Helping Your College-Age Child Manage Credit Card Debt


    Credit card companies love college students, even the students who don’t yet have jobs. Card issuers know parents will often step in to help when their kid comes home from school with a big credit card balance.

    Companies also realize college students go on to get a good jobs. Establishing a relationship now can create a long-term customer.

    While you may not be excited that your child can sign up for his own credit card once he turns 21, the odds are it will happen. Your job is to help them learn how to handle that credit responsibly, so they don't turn into a scary statistic.

    For instance, the average student now has a $2,087 credit card balance, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    Try these tips to help your child manage credit responsibly:

    Encourage your child to use a debit card. Explain the difference between a credit card (borrowed money) and a debit card (that pulls money from your bank account).

    Help your child shop for the best deal. If your child needs a credit card help select the best deal. Once your child has collected several credit card offers, go through them, comparing interest rates, annual fees, grace periods and penalties.

    Explain the basics of credit card debt. Make sure your child understands how much interest the credit card company charges on balances that aren't paid off each month. Show him the place on your credit card statement where the issuer shows how long it will take to pay off your current balance if you pay only the minimum due.

    Counsel your child to use credit cards only for emergencies, not to fund luxuries. Credit cards can also be used for things like book purchases or car repairs, but should be avoided for dining out and entertainment.
    Review your child's credit card statement every month.

    Show your child how to compare receipts to the credit card statements. Go over all purchases and explain how credit cards can increase impulse purchases.
     



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    Your Privacy
    Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. Tax articles in this e-newsletter are not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
    Powered by
    Copyright © HomeActions, LLC All rights reserved.


    Courtesy of: 

    Stephen E. Sisman


    CSP, e-Pro, REALTOR,

    Designated Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource,

    Certified Short Sale Master Default Intermediary,


    Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist,

    Associate Leadership Counsel Alumnus,

    a member of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce,

    a member of the Delaware Small Business Chamber,

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238

    Keller Williams Real Estate
    1-877-614-2401 toll free
    610.565.1995
     main 
    610.357.6101 mobile
    1400-1000 N Providence Road, Media, PA 19063 * 610.565.2001 fax
    steve@stevesisman.com * www.SteveSisman.com A caring professional helping friends, neighbors and family achieve stress free real estate transactions...Oh and by the way, I'm never too busy for your referrals!
  • 4 Equity-Boosting, Money-Saving Fall Home Projects

    Posted Under: Quality of Life, Home Selling, Property Q&A  |  September 13, 2014 9:40 AM  |  31 views  |  1 comment
    Stephen Sisman

    Stephen Sisman

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238
    877.614.2401 ID# 0
    steve@stevesisman.com
    1400 North Providence Rd
    Suite 1000
    Media, PA 19063


    My Website

    4 Equity-Boosting, Money-Saving Fall Home Projects


    1. Update your kitchen island or bar lighting.

    The right lighting can open up your kitchen space or create a more intimate setting for gatherings and special events. One way to enhance the space around the breakfast bar or even put a spotlight on the kitchen island is with canopy lights.

    Canopy fixtures cover a wider space with multiple bulbs and you can choose from a variety of different styles, including a Rustic Barn Chandelier, Glass Pendant Shades, or even a $17,735 bejeweled Swarovski Crystalline Icicles Pendant Chandelier that spreads all the way across the bar.


    2. Replace or repaint your front door.

    Exterior door replacement had the highest return on value of any project in Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report. The average cost for a steel front door is $1,162 and it returned $1,122, or 96.6 percent of its cost.

    If your front door is in good shape, freshen it up with a new color. Get inspired with this DIY Network slide show featuring 28 inviting colors to paint a front door.


    3. Seal the air ducts and holes in your home’s exterior.

    As much as 20 to 30 percent of the air moving through your HVAC’s duct system leaks out through poorly sealed ducts and holes. Lower your utility bill by sealing the ducts in your attic, crawlspace, unfinished basement and garage. Use aluminum foil tape not duct tape (which won’t last). Seal the ducts at the vents, too, so as much air as possible makes it into the rooms of your home.

    Next, head outside with a can of spray foam expanding sealant and seal any holes you can find. Only fill the gaps one-third full as the foam triples in size.


    4. Replace your garage door.

    If you have a front-facing garage, its door is a dominant visual feature of your home. Upgrading it generates an 84 percent return on cost. Looking for something distinctive?

    C.H.I. Overhead Doors’ stamped carriage house line adds a warm wood tone that brings character to any home style.



    Like these projects but don’t want to do them yourself? Contact me and I’ll put you in touch with a qualified home improvement contractor who can install beautiful light fixtures or an updated garage door. There are also local, home energy efficiency companies who can seal your ducts and exterior home air leaks.

    Front door image: Therma-Tru Corp.
    Garage door image: C.H.I. Overhead Doors


    Your Comments

    Update Your Information
    Saved Articles
    Comments and Feedback
    Refer A Friend
    Your Privacy
    Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. Tax articles in this e-newsletter are not intended to be used, and cannot be used by any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding accuracy-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
    Powered by
    Copyright © HomeActions, LLC All rights reserved.


    Courtesy of: 

    Stephen E. Sisman


    CSP, e-Pro, REALTOR,

    Designated Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource,

    Certified Short Sale Master Default Intermediary,


    Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist,

    Associate Leadership Counsel Alumnus,

    a member of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce,

    a member of the Delaware Small Business Chamber,

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238

    Keller Williams Real Estate
    1-877-614-2401 toll free
    610.565.1995
     main 
    610.357.6101 mobile
    1400-1000 N Providence Road, Media, PA 19063 * 610.565.2001 fax
    steve@stevesisman.com * www.SteveSisman.com A caring professional helping friends, neighbors and family achieve stress free real estate transactions...Oh and by the way, I'm never too busy for your referrals!
  • Investor Alert!!

    Posted Under: General Area, Home Buying, Investment Properties  |  September 10, 2014 9:07 AM  |  38 views  |  No comments
    NOW Available: 3547 N 21St St, Philadelphia. This Turnkey completely REHABBed and Fully Occupied four (4) apartment unit row features: 1- 2 bedroom apartment with new kitchen, 1- 1 bedroom apartment with new kitchen and 2- 1 bedroom efficiency units.  All units are rented and tenants pay all utilities except cold water.  All units include: Refrigerator, MicroWave and Garbage Disposal. This unit is a money maker!!  Some owner financing available.  Marketed at only: $154,900

    Rents: 2 bdr = $595 + utilities
              1 bdr = $525 + utilities
               Eff = $450 + utilities
               Eff = $425 = utilities

    Courtesy of: 

    Stephen E. Sisman


    CSP, e-Pro, REALTOR,

    Designated Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource,

    Certified Short Sale Master Default Intermediary,


    Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist,

    Associate Leadership Counsel Alumnus,

    a member of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce,

    a member of the Delaware Small Business Chamber,

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238

    Keller Williams Real Estate
    1-877-614-2401 toll free
    610.565.1995
     main 
    610.357.6101 mobile
    1400-1000 N Providence Road, Media, PA 19063 * 610.565.2001 fax
    steve@stevesisman.com * www.SteveSisman.com A caring professional helping friends, neighbors and family achieve stress free real estate transactions...Oh and by the way, I'm never too busy for your referrals!
  • Local Entertainment And Events Calendar

    Posted Under: Quality of Life, Home Selling, Property Q&A  |  September 10, 2014 8:58 AM  |  27 views  |  No comments

    Stephen Sisman

    Stephen Sisman

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238
    877.614.2401 ID# 0
    steve@stevesisman.com
    1400 North Providence Rd
    Suite 1000
    Media, PA 19063


    My Website

    Local Entertainment And Events Calendar


    Enter your ZIP code below to see a calendar of local events for your area.

    Enter the distance from your zip code to search for events. The default is 100 miles but you can select other distances. The closer distance to your zip code, the less events will be found. To see what areas are currently covered in the United States, click here Our partner is constantly adding additional coverage areas.

    This is a great resource when taking trips or going on vacation.

    You can also select the Category of events you are interested in by making your Category selection on the Calendar.

    Have an event you would like to post for FREE? Click here to submit your local event. Examples include fundraising, concerts, shows, meetings etc. All events will be confirmed by telephone.


    Your Comments


    Courtesy of: 

    Stephen E. Sisman


    CSP, e-Pro, REALTOR,

    Designated Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource,

    Certified Short Sale Master Default Intermediary,


    Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist,

    Associate Leadership Counsel Alumnus,

    a member of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce,

    a member of the Delaware Small Business Chamber,

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238

    Keller Williams Real Estate
    1-877-614-2401 toll free
    610.565.1995
     main 
    610.357.6101 mobile
    1400-1000 N Providence Road, Media, PA 19063 * 610.565.2001 fax
    steve@stevesisman.com * www.SteveSisman.com A caring professional helping friends, neighbors and family achieve stress free real estate transactions...Oh and by the way, I'm never too busy for your referrals!
  • Can Your Homeowners Association Say No To Security System Signs?

    Posted Under: Quality of Life, Home Selling, Property Q&A  |  September 10, 2014 8:56 AM  |  30 views  |  No comments

    Stephen Sisman

    Stephen Sisman

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238
    877.614.2401 ID# 0
    steve@stevesisman.com
    1400 North Providence Rd
    Suite 1000
    Media, PA 19063


    My Website

    Can Your Homeowners Association Say No To Security System Signs?


    HOA expert Richard Thompson answers your questions about living in condos, co-ops and communities with homeowners associations.

    Q: Does the homeowner association have the right to restrict home security system signs in the common area outside of the homes?

    A: The HOA usually has the right to limit signs in the common area and what is placed in home windows. Small security stickers on the window are usually allowed. The main concern is curb appeal. Uncontrolled signage creates a cluttered look and reduces property values.

    Q: I don't feel the board spends money in our best interests. I protested by withholding payment until year-end. Recently, I received a notice saying if I didn't pay, they would put a lien on my home. Can they do this? Am I wrong to protest this way?

    A: Withholding assessments in protest is not the way to get your point across and, yes, the board has both the right and duty to process collection on delinquencies. I assume your concerns are for the community as a whole and not for personal issues. 

    Your points and solutions should be made in writing to the board. Whether they act on them or not is another question. If they don't and you feel strongly that they should, I encourage you to run for election so that you can have a direct effect on the outcome. It's every owner's duty to serve.

    Q: Is it very difficult to change the governing documents? What’s the process?

    A: If you are thinking about amending your governing documents, you should consult with an attorney specializing in HOA law. There are state and federal laws to consider as well as practical applications that need to be harmonized. Once the amendment(s) are approved, they usually need to be recorded. The attorney can assist with this as well. 

    Q: Should we include landscape items in our Reserve Study? How about insuring trees?

    A: It’s wise to include "Landscape Renovation" and "Tree Work" in the Reserve Study. All bushes and trees have a limited life. Bushes die and outgrow their location. 

    While trees usually have a long life, they require corrective pruning that should be done every three to five years and is expensive. 

    Hiring an arborist to do a comprehensive inventory and report on the trees also makes a lot of sense. If each tree is tagged and referenced in the report, maintenance can be easily tracked. Consistent corrective pruning will extend the lives of the trees and keep them looking good. 

    Insurance for non-income producing trees provides limited coverage for claims related to fire, lightning, explosion, riot, aircraft, vehicles, vandalism and theft. Most tree claims are related to vehicle damage. Wind, freezing and pest claims are not honored. 

    Tree insurance does not actually insure the trees for value but provides replacement in standard nursery sizes. 

    In other words, that wind-fallen 80 foot Douglas fir will probably get you an 8-12 foot replacement. Based on the coverage available, $5,000 coverage will cover quite a few replacements.

    To avoid the possibility of insect infestation, use native trees that are hardy and pest resistant. If you already have those prone to insects, consult with an arborist for the proper preventive maintenance or alternatively, cut them down and replace them.

    Used with permission from Richard Thompson of Regenesis.net



    Your Comments


    Courtesy of: 

    Stephen E. Sisman


    CSP, e-Pro, REALTOR,

    Designated Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource,

    Certified Short Sale Master Default Intermediary,


    Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist,

    Associate Leadership Counsel Alumnus,

    a member of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce,

    a member of the Delaware Small Business Chamber,

    PA Lic# RS218928L DE Lic# RS-0016238

    Keller Williams Real Estate
    1-877-614-2401 toll free
    610.565.1995
     main 
    610.357.6101 mobile
    1400-1000 N Providence Road, Media, PA 19063 * 610.565.2001 fax
    steve@stevesisman.com * www.SteveSisman.com A caring professional helping friends, neighbors and family achieve stress free real estate transactions...Oh and by the way, I'm never too busy for your referrals!
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