10 Ways to Celebrate Spring in MontCo

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By Betsy Natter 

Spring is a beautiful time to enjoy the outdoors, shop in quaint towns and experience the warmth of good friends in communities all over Montgomery County. Check out our list of 10 ways to celebrate the season in a county that has it all!

1. Frequent a Community Street Fair and Market

Twilight on the River is an evening, family night out market concept located in Bridgeport, PA in a scenic park-like setting along the Schuylkill River at the Norristown dam. The event includes food, games, locally produced gifts and products, and showcases local non-profit organizations. It is held on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month, May through September from 4:30 to 8:30 pm.

First Friday Events are featured in Communities all over Montgomery County. Restaurant specials, local vendors, musical street performers and activities for the kids are staples of these special evenings to promote small businesses in the area’s quaint, yet flourishing towns. Check out one each month!

Ambler: amblermainstreet.org
Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr: www.firstfridaymainline.com
Lansdale: www.discoverlansdale.org
Skippack: www.skippackvillage.com
Phoenixville: www.phoenixvillefirst.org

2. Take Your Dog to a Canine Carnival

DeBella Dog Walk – Sat., May 4, 11 am to 3 pm
Green Lane Park Amphitheater
2298 Green Lane Road, Green Lane PA 18054
wmgk.com

The 2019 DeBella Dog Walk is a FREE, outdoor event for people and their dogs, those looking to adopt, and those wanting to learn about particular breeds. Its aim is to teach people how to be better pet owners and to educate the public about the work that non-profit rescue groups and shelters do. Over 25 shelters and rescue groups will be present. Enjoy doggie demonstrations, interactive pet/owner games and food truck offerings.

3. Help the Environment

Native Plant Sale by the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy – Sat., May 11, 10 am to 4 pm
Peter Wentz Farmstead
2030 Shearer Rd.,Lansdale, PA 19446
www.perkiomenwatershed.org

The Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy (PWC) is hosting a Native Plant Sale at the Peter Wentz Farmstead on Sat, May 11th from 10 am to 4 pm. Native plants use less water, require less work, and provide year-round interest AND benefit to wildlife. The Sale will feature expert advice from PWC staff. A large variety of native vines, ferns, shrubs, trees, flowers, and grasses will be available for sale. Park in the main lot for the Farmstead, then follow the signs to the sale location.

Peter Wentz Farmstead Native Plant Sale (Photo from Facebook)

4. Learn About Life During the Civil War

Civil War Encampment – Sat/Sun., June 1 & 2, beginning at 10 am
Pennypacker Mills
5 Haldeman Rd, Schwenksville, PA 19473
www.ppmcivilwar.org

Experience life during the Civil War at this reenactment event held on the grounds of Pennypacker Mills. Support the troops as cannon fire rumbles across the field and opposing armies march toward each other in battle. Visit military and civilian encampments, tour the mansion and see special exhibits. Join in the period music and songs and visit the Civilian Street for demonstrations. Kids will enjoy the “Be a Soldier Kid Enlistment” activity, and much more.

A food vendor will be available. More details and a full schedule is available at www.ppmcivilwar.org. The event is free, but a $2 per person donation is appreciated.

5. Take the Kids to a Fair

Towamencin Community Day 2019 – Sat., May 18, 12 to 4 pm
Fischer’s Park
2225 Bustard Road Lansdale, PA 19446
Facebook Event Page

Towamencin’s Community Day is chock full of FREE face painting/balloon animals, pony rides, zip line, police/fire activities, inflatables by A+ Jump, magic shows, and much more! The event includes live music, a food court, and an array of vendors and local community groups.

Towamencin Community Day (Photo from Facebook)

6. Eat Pie

Church of the Holy Spirit Annual Fair Day & Pie Festival – Sat., May 18, 9 am to 3 pm
2871 Barndt Rd., Harleysville, PA 19438
www.churchoftheholyspirit.net

This annual festival has it all: a craft fair, plant sale, car wash, treasure chest flea market, kids’ games, food AND a pie contest and sale! The event will be held on the church grounds.

7. Peruse a Craft Festival

Towns all around MontCo love to host craft festivals. Start the season at one of these:

Skippack Spring Fest – May 11 & 12, 10 am to 5 pm
Skippack Pk., Skippack, PA 19474
www.skippackvillage.com

Narberth Music & Arts Festival – June 9, 12 to 7 pm
Haverford Ave and Forrest Ave, Narberth, PA 19072
www.narberthmusicfestival.com

Lansdale Day Arts & Crafts Festival – June 1, 10 am to 4 pm
West Main St., Lansdale, PA 19446
www.rotaryclubofnorthpenn.org

8. Learn About Nature

MontCo Parks
www.montcopa.org

Montco’s many park and trails are ready to explore and each park site sponsors of variety of nature activities. Educational lessons geared toward children, bird walks, creek explorations and more! Check the county parks website for the brochure listing all the opportunities.

9. Paddle the Perkiomen

Perkiomen Creek Sojourn – Sat., June 1
Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy
1 W. Skippack Pk., Schwenksville, PA 19473
www.perkiomenwatershed.org

Enjoy a day on the water as you canoe or kayak down the scenic Perkiomen Creek on a Creek Sojourn from Schwenksville to Oaks. A lunch stop is provided on this tour led by a guide from the Conservancy. Bring your own boat or rent one. For more details and to register, visit the Conservancy website at www.perkiomenwatershed.org.

Perkiomen Creek Sojourn (Photo from Facebook)

10. Uncork Some Fun at a Wine Festival

Spring Wine Fest 2019 – Sat., May 18
Skippack Village
Skippack Pk., Skippack, PA 19474
www.skippackvillage.com

Enjoy the quaint shopping village of Skippack while sipping wine and tasting spirits from the featured Pennsylvania wineries and distilleries that will be on hand from 1 to 6 pm. Enjoy food from a variety of food trucks as well as the many restaurants in the village. Shop the vibrant selection of boutique retail establishments, then stop to enjoy some of the live music throughout the village.

Skippack Wine Fest (photo from Facebook)

Comment /Source

Dawyn Clemens

Dawyn F. Clemens has 30 years experience as a real estate agent in Montgomery County, Pa.Honesty and integrity, along with determination and dedication, are philosophies that Dawyn strives for in all aspects of her life. Applying these principles to her business has allowed her to be a top producing real estate agent over her 30 years in the industry.

Dawyn has a proven record of directly impacting her client’s financial success and propelling smooth transactions by applying refined management, selling, and negotiation skills.

If you are planning on buying or selling in Montgomery or Bucks Counties, contact Dawyn Clemens, your local neighborhood expert for a personalized real estate experience. Dawyn Clemens takes pride in servicing her clients by delivering exceptional service and establishing lifelong relationships.

How to Cover Costs for Unexpected Home Repairs

How to Cover Costs for Unexpected Home Repairs

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It’s normal for homeowners to occasionally deal with unexpected expenses. What are your plans if you need a major home repair? While insurance can help in some circumstances, there are sometimes concerns that aren’t covered, caps on benefits, and limits on replacement and values. With good planning, however, you can be prepared when those issues come along. 

 

Rainy Day Fund 

Any number of things can happen to your humble abode, and coming home to a flood from a plumbing problem, damage from fallen trees, or other surprise calamities can be upsetting at best. Not only is your home damaged, but you also need to contact your insurance, hire repairmen, clean, and change around your schedule. Insurance companies don’t always cover all damages, either. Repairs stemming from neglect, power outages, flooding, sewage, or mold are all outside of coverage for most insurances. What’s more, the national average cost for a major home repair or renovation is around $10,390.

 

Most people don’t have that kind of money close at hand, so your first priority should be establishing an emergency fund for home repairs. As Dave Ramsey explains, you can actually build your emergency fund quickly by taking on a second source of income, selling items you own, or paring down your budget. You’ll find your fund comes in handy for replacing items when they wear out as well. The expenses involved with maintaining a home become unwieldy sometimes, especially when things like furnaces, refrigerators, ovens, microwaves, and garage door openers break, particularly if they are beyond repair. 

 

Finding Quality Repairs 

When it comes time to hire a contractor to work on your home, the last thing you want is to fall victim to a scam artist. Steer clear of hiring anyone who tries to pressure you into work, as well as those who want payment in advance. Always get everything in writing, and before you even contact a repairman of any sort, US News notes that you should have a plan for your expectations. Know what you want worked on, and have an idea of what your outcome will be.  For instance, decide in advance if you want a bathroom completely gutted, retiled and refitted, or if a new toilet and vanity top will suffice.

 

Not surprisingly, good contractors tend to stay busy, so you can expect to wait a while before work begins. Check references and licenses, and you can even research local court records to see if there is a history of litigation against someone. Always get at least a few bids on your project as well. Another suggestion is to check online reviews to see what other people have to say about contractors you’re considering. 

 

Staying Affordable

There are many ways to cut costs when planning home repairs or renovations. One idea is to do some of the work yourself. If you can pull up carpet, apply paint, or take down molding, you could save yourself some of the labor costs involved with your project. You can also put off some of the work until later. For example, if you are replacing flooring, perhaps the high-traffic rooms will be your priority and you can do the rest later.

Another idea is to check local hardware and home improvement stores for good deals on materials and make the purchases yourself. If you’re replacing appliances, keep your eyes peeled for energy-efficient models so you can take advantage of tax credits. One place where you don’t want to pinch pennies too much is on whom you hire. As This Old House points out, a contractor who gives you a lowball bid is probably going to be a problem. Consider it a red flag that the contractor is taking shortcuts or does slipshod work. 

Home repairs can become expensive quickly. It’s to your advantage to set aside money to pay for repairs, and then do your research before hiring contractors and scheduling projects. With good preparation, you can take things in stride when a rainy day expense comes along. 

Comment

Dawyn Clemens

Dawyn F. Clemens has 30 years experience as a real estate agent in Montgomery County, Pa.Honesty and integrity, along with determination and dedication, are philosophies that Dawyn strives for in all aspects of her life. Applying these principles to her business has allowed her to be a top producing real estate agent over her 30 years in the industry.

Dawyn has a proven record of directly impacting her client’s financial success and propelling smooth transactions by applying refined management, selling, and negotiation skills.

If you are planning on buying or selling in Montgomery or Bucks Counties, contact Dawyn Clemens, your local neighborhood expert for a personalized real estate experience. Dawyn Clemens takes pride in servicing her clients by delivering exceptional service and establishing lifelong relationships.

(I NEED 20% DOWN) Home-Buying Myths About Mortgages Explained

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By: Kelley Walters
Published: July 12, 2018

Tips for shopping around for a mortgage -- even if you think you don't qualify.

Think you're not ready to unlock home ownership yet? That the financial hurdles are too high? You may be short-changing yourself. Many of the things renters believe about home-buying are myths.

Here’s the real deal

Myth: I Have to Put Down 20%. 😢

Saving 20% of the price of a home in many places isn't just a challenge; it's a roadblock. And it's not a must-do. Roughly 60% of home buyers put down less than 6%. How can you become part of the {{ start_tip 115 }}less-than-20 club{{ end_tip }}?

  • FHA Loans: The Federal Housing Association (FHA) is an old friend to first-time buyers and others who are ready to become homeowners with less than a 20% down payment. If you qualify, you may be able to get a loan with as little as 3.5% down.

  • DownpaymentResource.com and NeighborWorks: Some local and state agencies sponsor down-payment assistance programs that help prospective home buyers in different ways. Follow the links to find out if any are available near you.

  • VA, USDA, and Navy Federal Credit Union loans: Three government-related lenders offer mortgages with as little as zero down. The VA is for veterans and family members; the USDA is for buyers in qualifying locations (typically rural); and Navy Federal Credit Union is for the military, family members, and some government employees.

  • Gift Funds: Sixteen percent of buyers ask friends or relatives to help jump-start their home ownership with a gift. Talk to your lender first, though. There may be limits to the amount of gifted funds they'll accept, and they may require your benefactor to sign some paperwork.

Myth: My Low Credit Score Means I Can't Buy a Home

So, your credit could use a tune-up. That doesn't mean you have to forgo your home-buying dreams. Here are some options for those with a less-than-stellar credit score.

  • FHA loan: With a credit score of 500, you can apply for an FHA loan, but you'll need a 10% down payment to offset the risk. If your score is a tick better (580), you can participate in their down-payment assistance program, requiring only 3.5%.

  • A higher down payment: On the off-chance you have enough cash on hand to put down more than 20%, the higher down payment can help those with lower credit scores be less risky for lenders.

  • A co-signer. Find someone with better credit to co-sign the loan – but understand that if you don't make the payments, the cosigner will be financially responsible (and their credit will also suffer).

  • Check your credit report. Maybe your credit isn't that low after all. Order a copy of your report from all three reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). If you find inaccurate or old information, ask the agencies to correct it. (You can order a free report from each of the bureaus once a year at annualcreditreport.com.

Myth: I Can't Afford the Agent's Commission

Here's one you can immediately mark off your worry list. Typically, the commission is paid from the proceeds of the sale via the seller.

This is one of many reasons to contract with a buyer's agent. The seller's agent doesn't work for you, and you need a pro in your corner.

Myth: My Bank Will Give Me the Best Mortgage

There are a lot of positive things to say about working with your local bank, but assuming they'll give you the best mortgage is a mistake.

Banks are only one type of home-loan lender. Others include credit unions and mortgage companies. Mortgage rates aren't the same across the board, so contact several institutions to ensure you're getting the best price.

Or, if you prefer to let the lenders come to you, consider getting a loan through a mortgage broker. Brokers have access to several lenders, and they'll shop their market, getting you a wider selection of loans. But unless you contract with one, brokers aren't obligated to find the best deal for you. So you'll want to shop around for a broker, just as you would for a lender.

Myth: I Was Pre-Approved. I Got The Loan!

Well . . . no. Don't order that couch from West Elm or pack away your tax documents just yet.

You don't get the loan until:

(a) The seller accepts your offer

(b) Your lender approves the loan (which you'll need those tax docs for)

(c) You sign the loan papers 

Between (a) and (c), the lender will have the home appraised to ensure its value is in line with the purchase price, check your credit again, and ask you for more documents than you ever knew existed.

So what does "pre-approved" mean for a loan? It tells sellers you're eligible for a loan and shows them you're a serious, qualified buyer. This gives them confidence in your offer, increasing your chances of (a), (b), and (c) actually happening.

Myth: The Interest Rate Is What Matters Most

A low interest rate is important, but it's not the only thing to consider. When shopping around for a loan, check the annual percentage rate (APR). It includes all loan costs, such as origination and processing fees that can vary widely from lender to lender, in addition to the interest rate.

One loan may have a lower interest rate, but the up-front fees cost more than you'd save in interest. The APR lets you compare apples to apples.

Before you sign the loan, your lender will give you a loan estimate, a line-by-line estimate of fees. You'll find the APR there. Use that rate to compare the loans you're considering.

How about that? You may be closer to home ownership than you thought. Happy house hunting!


Comment

Dawyn Clemens

Dawyn F. Clemens has 30 years experience as a real estate agent in Montgomery County, Pa.Honesty and integrity, along with determination and dedication, are philosophies that Dawyn strives for in all aspects of her life. Applying these principles to her business has allowed her to be a top producing real estate agent over her 30 years in the industry.

Dawyn has a proven record of directly impacting her client’s financial success and propelling smooth transactions by applying refined management, selling, and negotiation skills.

If you are planning on buying or selling in Montgomery or Bucks Counties, contact Dawyn Clemens, your local neighborhood expert for a personalized real estate experience. Dawyn Clemens takes pride in servicing her clients by delivering exceptional service and establishing lifelong relationships.

Top 7 Home Preps to Tackle Before Fall Temps DROP

(09.04.18)

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Ahhhh, fall – the air turns crisp and cool, yellow patches of leaves appear to take over the treetops and you’re prepped for sweater weather. But, is your home ready for the season? Whether you do the dirty work yourself or hire out, RE/MAX put together a checklist to help you tackle fall home preps that can make a big difference of how your home handles the season.

  1. Get your mind in the gutter. If you’re not on top of clogged gutters, you’re just asking for water damage. Water with nowhere to go can lead to exterior and foundational damage and maybe even a flooded basement. It’s a dirty job, but you can do it-or hire it out.

  2. Check the chimney. While you’re up on the roof and the weather’s still calm-check your chimney for damage. Search for loose or broken joints and if the flue cap is still in place. Now’s the time to also attend to any damaged roof shingles or flashing.

  3. Let’s get physical. Once the temperatures begin to drop, you’ll crank up that furnace and put it through quite a workout. Make sure it’s ready to handle the workload by replacing the filter and keep all the vents open so heat can circulate throughout your home.

  4. Turn off outdoor plumbing. Blow out sprinkler systems, drain outdoor faucets and cover them to protect them from the freezing weather to come.

  5. Clean outdoor furniture and gardening tools. Don’t let the harsh fall and winter weather get to your outdoor furniture and garden gadgets. Give them a quick clean up so they are ready for storage over the winter.

  6. Stay safe out there. Fall is as good reminder to perform an annual check of the safety features in your home. Make sure the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors get fresh batteries, check the fire extinguisher or replace if it’s six years or older and take this chance to update or practice your fire escape plans.

  7. Pre-plan for spring-blooms. Fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs for a big pay off in the spring. Set your sights on a spot in your yard that gets full sun and get digging.

Looking for that perfect home where you’re in charge of home preps and maintenance? Look no further than remax.com to help you find a local agent who can help make your dream of owning your own home a reality

Comment /Source

Dawyn Clemens

Dawyn F. Clemens has 30 years experience as a real estate agent in Montgomery County, Pa.Honesty and integrity, along with determination and dedication, are philosophies that Dawyn strives for in all aspects of her life. Applying these principles to her business has allowed her to be a top producing real estate agent over her 30 years in the industry.

Dawyn has a proven record of directly impacting her client’s financial success and propelling smooth transactions by applying refined management, selling, and negotiation skills.

If you are planning on buying or selling in Montgomery or Bucks Counties, contact Dawyn Clemens, your local neighborhood expert for a personalized real estate experience. Dawyn Clemens takes pride in servicing her clients by delivering exceptional service and establishing lifelong relationships.

How to Maintain a Swimming Pool Year-Round: Your To-Do List for Every Season

How to Maintain a Swimming Pool Year-Round_ Your To-Do List for Every Season - Copy.jpg

By Teresa Traverse | Aug 29, 2018

As the seasons shift, swimming pool owners need to take special precautions to ensure their pool is in optimal shape. Caring for your pool is not as simple as putting the cover on for the winter and not thinking about it again until summer.

To keep your pool in pristine condition year-round—whether you're using it or not—requires regular upkeep, regardless of the season.

An ounce of prevention is worth the weeks of filter cleaning that comes in the spring if you don’t maintain your pool over the winter,” says Aly Goudy, manager at Goudy Pools based in Arnold, MD.

Related Articles

Here's what you need to know about caring for your swimming pool throughout the year and the steps you need to take each season.

Fall
Bring out the sad violins: Pool time is fast fading in many parts of the country. But the good news is that, depending on where you live, you should still have quite a few swimming days left. Make sure your pool is up to the task.

Fall means trees will be shedding their leaves like crazy. During this time, Goudy recommends checking your skimmer basket frequently.

“Your skimmer baskets can clog very quickly and stop the flow of water and damage your pump if the water stops moving,” she says.

If you have an automatic pool cleaner, Goudy recommends emptying the bag more frequently to ensure it doesn’t become too full and break.

If you don't have an automatic pool cleaner, use a skimmer net to keep the leaves out.

Winter
Unless you have an enormous problem with leaves or other debris getting in your pool—or you live in an area where the temperatures plunge to 32 degrees Fahrenheit—experts don't advise keeping the pool covered all winter. It needs to aerate. If it’s covered for an extended period of time, the chemicals can build up and the chlorine smell can become overpowering.

If you prefer to keep your pool covered, Eric Stanton, owner of Stanton Pools in Westlake Village, CA, recommends airing it out at least once a week. If your pool remains open during the winter, it’s still important to keep it serviced weekly to ensure the plaster and the calcium don’t peel, among other problems.

If you live in a freezing climate, you should close your pool for the winter.

“Winterizing your pumping and equipment is very important to protect them from freeze damage,” says Goudy.

Have this service done before temperatures fall below freezing. Winterizing your pool includes adjusting the water levels, checking and fixing the water chemistry, draining and blowing out the equipment to prevent water from freezing inside, and placing a safety cover over the pool.

Goudy recommends cleaning your pool before closing it. If you close it when it’s dirty or the chemistry levels are off, it will cost more and take longer to bring it back up to speed.

Spring
To ensure your pool is ready to open in the summer, you'll want to take several measures during the spring. The first thing you should do is clean the filter, according to Stanton.

After that, check the level of cyanuric acid, or "conditioner," to ensure it’s in the appropriate range. This acid protects the chlorine from breaking up due to the sun’s powerful UV rays. The amount you add will depend on the size of your pool and the acid level that’s already present. If your pool isn’t serviced by a pro, take a water sample to your local pool store so the staff can check the chemical levels and tell you how much to add.

Make sure the heater’s working, too. If you need to fix it, have it taken care of before you throw a pool party.

If you closed your pool for the winter, Goudy suggests treating the pool once in March if you plan to open it in April or May. She recommends pulling back the cover and circulating algaecide to kill off any algae that might have bloomed. She also recommends adding a free and clear product to make your water clear.

Use a phosphate remover. Phosphate makes chlorine less effective and kills off algae.

If you have plenty of pollen on your pool cover, Goudy advises using a leaf blower to blow off the pollen. If pollen gets wet, it can stain your cover. 

Summer
During the summer, when your pool is open and in full use, Goudy advises weekly water testing to ensure the chemicals are all balanced.

Add algaecide at opening, depending on how long ago you treated it. Add a stain and scale prevention product to protect your plaster.

Goudy advises checking filter pressure, too. Follow the manufacturer’s suggested guidelines here. If you notice that your water is cloudy or has a green tint to it, it might mean the water is not pumping through the filter.

As for chlorinating your pool during the summer, Stanton recommends using chlorine tablets in a floating dispenser to keep your water clean. They should be replaced at least once a week during the warmer months.

Chlorine should also be tested and adjusted at least once a week and ideally two to three times a week, according to Stanton.

You should also "shock" the pool after a pool party, severe rainstorm, or other periods of heavy use. Shocking the pool means adding a large amount of chlorine and other chemicals to destroy the buildup of contaminants. You can add liquid chlorine, called sodium hypochlorite, which is basically bleach. The most common method is to pour it into the pool. Other methods include a granular type of chlorine, a salt system, and chlorine tablets, like the ones that sit in the floating dispenser.

If your area is prone to summer storms, check and clear out your pool skimmer basket to ensure debris doesn’t build up.

Teresa K. Traverse is a writer, editor, and traveler based in Phoenix. See more of her work at teresaktraverse.com.

Follow @teresaktraverse

The realtor.com® editorial team highlights a curated selection of product recommendations for your consideration; clicking a link to the retailer that sells the product may earn us a commission.

Comment

Dawyn Clemens

Dawyn F. Clemens has 30 years experience as a real estate agent in Montgomery County, Pa.Honesty and integrity, along with determination and dedication, are philosophies that Dawyn strives for in all aspects of her life. Applying these principles to her business has allowed her to be a top producing real estate agent over her 30 years in the industry.

Dawyn has a proven record of directly impacting her client’s financial success and propelling smooth transactions by applying refined management, selling, and negotiation skills.

If you are planning on buying or selling in Montgomery or Bucks Counties, contact Dawyn Clemens, your local neighborhood expert for a personalized real estate experience. Dawyn Clemens takes pride in servicing her clients by delivering exceptional service and establishing lifelong relationships.