RE/MAX 440
Margie Kollar

Margie Kollar
1110 North Broad Street  Lansdale  PA 19446
Phone:  215-822-8171
Office:  215-362-2260
Cell:  215-620-5500
Fax:  267 354-6859

My Blog

Could 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates Hit 5 Percent?

February 9, 2018 1:51 am

A growing number of experts are predicting the protracted period of historically low mortgage rates may be drawing to an end in 2018.

Tim Lucas at reported that as 2018 arrived, mortgage rates hit their 26th week holding below 4 percent - but within two weeks, the average 30-year rate nationwide escalated to 4.15 percent.

He showed all the following sources predicting higher rates for 2018:
- Mortgage Bankers Association: 4.6 percent
- Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac: 4.5 percent
- 4.6 percent average, reaching  percent by year-end
- National Association of Realtors: 4.5 percent
- Kiplinger: 4.4 percent
- National Association of Home Builders: 4.34 percent

At, Natalie Campisi pointed out that mortgage rates inched up every week during January. She said the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 11 basis points to 4.38 percent - the highest point since last March.

The folks at reported that real estate industry data provider CoreLogic averaged six forecasts of mortgage rates, arriving at a consensus that the 30-year fixed will average 4.7 percent by December 2018. says interest rates are notoriously resistant to prediction, though, harkening back to the beginning of 2017 when most expected mortgage rates to rise steadily for months, but they only rose for a few weeks.

The average 30-year fixed peaked at 4.58 percent last March before it reversed, dipping slightly to 4 percent a few times in the summer, before ticking upward slightly in the fall.

Trendwatchers at say if their economic growth and inflation forecasts hold, then the The Federal Open Market Committee or FOMC will likely raise rates three to four times in 2018. However, predicts those anticipated rate increases will be gradual, allowing housing market activity to maintain momentum.

While Freddie Mac's baseline forecast is sanguine about the path of the U.S. economy and housing markets today, its experts are watching three factors closely: whether another recession is looming; if housing markets respond to declining affordability; and whether young adults will step up moving into the housing market.
We'll also be watching these factors - stay tuned.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Four Mistakes That Could Make Your Cruise Travel Insurance Worthless

February 9, 2018 1:51 am

Heading out on a cruise this year? How exciting! Booked travel insurance just in case? Good on you! However, it's important to pay mind to the fine print of your travel insurance so you don't end up with a void claim. Squaremouth offers the following insights:

Mistake No. 1: Waiting Until There's Bad Weather to Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance only covers unexpected situations; once a hurricane or winter storm has been given a name, it's too late for travel insurance.

Expert Tip: While travel insurance can be bought up until the day before you leave for your trip, make sure to get your policy early if you're worried about future weather issues, before a hurricane or winter storm is named.

Mistake No. 2: Drinking Alcohol and Assuming Your Medical Emergencies are Covered
Travel insurance can cover expensive cruise ship medical costs unless the traveler is intoxicated. This is a common exclusion in most policies.

Expert Tip: Travel insurance providers will not always know if travelers were drinking alcohol at the time of an injury or illness, however, providers will require documentation during the claims process, such as medical records or a police report.

Mistake No. 3: Assuming Your Medical Emergencies are Covered During All Shore Excursions
Travel insurance covers medical emergencies whether travelers are on the cruise ship or on land, including shore excursions. Some travelers may be aware that there are exclusions on dangerous activities such as bungee jumping or skydiving, but many travelers may not realize that a policy may exclude lower impact activities like kayaking or riding in a hot air balloon.

Expert Tip: Look at the policy detail for each shore excursion you plan to participate in while on your cruise before you buy the policy. If the policy excludes the activity, choose another policy or consider getting the Hazardous Sports upgrade.

Mistake No. 4: Arriving to Your Port of Departure Early and Assuming You're Covered
Travelers may want to spend a few days at their Port of Departure before their cruise begins. Many travelers may assume they only need to get a policy for their cruise, but travel insurance is designed to cover travelers from doorstep to doorstep and does not allow coverage for only a portion of a trip.

Expert Tip: Make sure to enter the date that you leave your home and the date you return home when getting a travel insurance quote. If your travel dates change, you can call your provider and have them update your travel dates. This modification to your policy can be made up until the day before you leave for your trip.

Consider a 'Catch-All' Coverage
If the possibility of cancelling a vacation is the traveler's top concern, the only way to be sure they'll get a portion of their money back is with the upgraded Cancel For Any Reason coverage. This upgrade refunds travelers 75 percent of their costs if they cancel for a reason not listed in their policy, as long as they insure all of their trip costs and cancel at least two days before they're scheduled to leave.

Source: Squaremouth

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Which Building and Design Trends Will Impact Your Home in 2018?

February 8, 2018 1:48 am

The International Builders' Show (IBS), held January 9 - 11 in Orlando, Fla. during national Design & Construction Week, is a meeting of minds for building and design trends. This year, the folks at were quick to blog about the cultural shift they saw toward mindfulness and creating a home sanctuary - especially evident in bathroom designs as well as outdoor living spaces.

Managing editor Kriss Swint noted the increasing prevalence of blues and greens being used in these spaces create a feeling of calm, serenity and escape. also pointed out the continuing expansion of Scandinavian design influence - sleek, simple and clean lines built on the principles of affordability, simplicity, and functionality that Swint and company expect will continue to dominate every facet of interior and exterior design in 2018.

Rexy Legaspi at observed that major strides in technology like smart locks and smart vent hoods were a few of the tools that were unveiled at IBS 2018. Legaspi also said “personal assistant” technology like Siri and Alexa are expected to evolve to even more advanced and sophisticated functionality.

Legaspi said multi-generational homes and aging-in-place designs are expected to increase in popularity in 2018. He learned about one 5,188-square-foot, seven-bedroom reNEWable Living Home in Arizona that incorporates an urban-inspired loft for a young adult, a first-floor in-law suite, a tech-savvy space for a teenager, and an amazing master suite that overlooks the home’s pool.

In that model home, shared social spaces include a Great Room, kitchen, outdoor living space, a game room, and pool area. The home’s two-story floor plan allows family members their desired private space/retreats and at the same time provides comfortable, homey areas where they can relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Besides widespread European influences, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) noticed many more exhibitors promoting hurricane impact products this year, along with large multi-slide doors that are offering even more colors and directing more emphasis to outdoor living spaces.

Stay tuned for more evolving information on design trends.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


5 Ways to Ward off Winter Illness

February 8, 2018 1:48 am

Think you can't outrun that cold that's going around? Think again! Here are five ways to ward off winter illness and keep you smiling until spring.

Eat fresh. Don't let the cool weather turn you towards junk food. Continue choosing fresh produce and healthy eats to keep your body happy. Avoid eating to many processed foods, sugar and alcohol, all of which can wear down your system and make you prone to catching that office flu.

Pop a supplement. Taking a supplement to ward off colds can really help. Talk to your doctor about what's best, but health aids with zinc and vitamin C tend to help.

Stay active. It's understandable that cold months make you want to hibernate, but being physically active keeps your immune system humming. If you don't mind the snowy weather, pick up a winter sport like snowing, ski boarding or simply walking outdoors when conditions are safe. Not a fan of frost? Join a gym or a hot yoga studio.

Rest more. It's natural to need more rest in the winter as our circadian rhythm adjusts. Allow yourself to hit snooze and, if you can, tuck into bed an hour earlier.

Wash your hands. Your mother was right when she reminded you to wash, wash, wash your hands. At work and out in public, take a break every once and a while to suds up your hands, and try as hard as you can to keep them away from your face and avoid finger foods unless you've just washed.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


5 Mistakes to Avoid When Booking Travel Online

February 8, 2018 1:48 am

Traveling is exciting and fun - and planning for your trip should be too. To help, offers the following insights on what mistakes can create a headache as you book travel online.

Check Your Airport Codes. You're looking for a cheap flight to Orlando, Florida. As you begin your search, you see ORD populate. The kids are screaming with excitement knowing they have endless theme parks ahead of them and you accidentally select that pre-populated option. Checking airport codes is one of the most important parts of purchasing travel online because instead of booking a trip to Orlando (MCO) you actually end up with a flight to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD).

Keep in mind that not all codes directly correspond to the city they are located in. Some match up nicely like Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS), but others can be misleading, such as ONT. This is the code for Ontario International Airport located near Los Angeles—not Ontario, Canada. Another frequent mistake occurs when a city with the same name exists in different countries, such as San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) and San Jose, California (SJC).

This mistake can easily be avoided by spelling out the exact destination in your search. Also, always double check your itinerary before booking. If you are unsure of the airport code, a simple internet search can help clarify.

Read the Fine Print. The Fare Rules and Regulations of a flight can be daunting. Small words that run pages and pages appear on a screen while all you want to do is complete your transaction. Policies and procedures are unique for every airline, flight, and ticket, and they can vary tremendously. Scan through the fine print and look for sections such as the following:

- Refunds: Not all flights are 100 percent refundable, even in the worst case scenario. If you don't see anything in this section specifically mentioning medical reasons, death, or bereavement there is no guarantee that you will be able to cancel your ticket for a full or partial refund.

- Changes: Most airlines charge a fee when a passenger requests a change to their ticket,

. including name changes, date changes, and origin or destination changes.

The Fare Rules will spell out exactly what you can do and how much it will cost.  If it doesn't explicitly say something, don't assume that it is allowed. Travel insurance is a great way to add extra security in case of any emergency situations that may occur.

Look Out For Additional Costs. These days, the airfare is only a small portion of the total cost of a flight. Ancillary fees can range from luggage surcharges, to seat selection fees, to the soda and snack box you buy on the plane. The pricing structure varies from airline to airline so it's important to be aware of what is mandatory versus what can be avoided. For example, you may be able to pay for your luggage online at a discounted rate as opposed to on the day of your flight. This will not only save you money, but it will also save you time on your travel day. It is recommended to calculate all the costs that come along with booking a certain ticket before actually booking. The fare plus all of the additional costs on one airline may end up being more expensive than an all-inclusive fare on another airline.

Make All of Your Preferences Known. Not every trip that is booked online is the same and neither is every traveler. If you have special circumstances that require attention, make them known as soon as possible. Some common requests are for special meals, handicapped persons, unaccompanied minors, or infants traveling on your lap. Make a list of your travel preferences and if they are not listed online in the booking process, contact a CheapOair customer care agent before booking for guidance on how to proceed.

Double Check the Confirmation. You are almost ready, but before you click "Book Now": DOUBLE CHECK EVERYTHING. Finalize your personal information and assure everything is correct. Remember that the name on your ticket must exactly match your driver's license or passport including first, middle, and last name. Pay attention to the spelling, numbered addresses, and contact information, your origin and destination, and of course the travel dates.

Once you've booked, make sure you receive your confirmation email, print out any necessary documents, and store them in a safe place. Always confirm any reservations a few days before a trip to make sure no changes have surfaced prior to your takeoff.


Published with permission from RISMedia.


4 Things to Teach Your Teens About Money

February 6, 2018 1:39 am

Even if they’ve received an allowance every month in return for doing household chores, the teen years are when many kids begin to earn money by doing ‘real’ jobs. Their first paychecks can be a valid source of pride—but also a temptation to spend.

This is the time to help your teen establish good money habits, financial advisors say. Money editors at The Motley Fool suggest four things parents should address:

Creating a budget. It’s important to know how much money is coming in, how much will be spent—and on what—and how much will be saved. Parents can share their own budgets, if they wish, or create an imagined scenario including those components. It’s a good way for kids to learn the connection between working, spending, and building wealth.

Real life has costs. Budgeting may help teens track where their money is going, but they should understand that real life has real life costs. If your teen has recently earned a driver’s license, for example, your insurance cost probably went up—which may mean making changes in your budget. Share that with your teens. You may or may not ask them to contribute, but it’s a good way for them to realize that life may carry unexpected costs.

How to read a paycheck. Show your kids how much is taken out of your paycheck for taxes, retirement, and health insurance, and the difference between gross and net income. It will help them realize, when they take those first ‘real’ jobs, that how much money they will have to spend out of each paycheck will be a lot less than they had figured.

The difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ debt. Teens should understand that money borrowed at a relatively low interest rate that helps you grow wealth over the long run, such as a student loan or a mortgage, is considered good debt. High-interest consumer debt, on the other hand—such as debt incurred for frivolous expenses or things you know you can’t afford—can bust your budget and become a crushing burden.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


How to Get the Best Deals on Airfare

February 6, 2018 1:39 am

Whether you're looking ahead to that summer vacation or a spring break getaway, it pays to be thrifty. To help, has released a list of tips and tricks for seniors and retirees on how to save money on travel this year.

Avoid Peak Travel Season. Every destination is busy at different times of the year. By doing a little research ahead of time, you can potentially save a lot of money by knowing when the airlines, hotels, and rental car companies are most in need of the business.

According to CheapOair's booking data from 2017, many popular international destinations saw large airfare difference between the slowest months and the busiest months.  

- Passengers that traveled from the U.S. to China in September 2017 instead of June 2017 on average saved 37 percent on airfare.

- Passengers that traveled from the U.S. to Spain in February 2017 instead of July 2017 on average saved 36 percent on airfare.

- Passengers that traveled from the U.S. to Australia in August 2017 instead of December 2017 on average saved 29 percent on airfare.

- Passengers that traveled from the U.S. to Italy in March 2017 instead of June 2017 on average saved 25 percent on airfare.

Consider all of your options before booking. Many airlines have recently changed their fare structures to have very low base fares, but then charge extra fees for things such as checked baggage, carry-on luggage, or seat selection. Before booking the lowest fare you see, read the fine print to double check what’s included and what’s not. Depending on your preferences, it may be worthwhile to book a more expensive (but more comprehensive) fare upfront to save money on the fees you could be charged later.

Be flexible with your dates. Booking engines like allow travelers to see the cheapest dates for travel even before selecting their intended travel dates. Since retirees are less time-constrained, consider taking advantage of the ability to fly on cheaper days.

Sign up for a travel credit card. Travel credit cards are a great way for frequent travelers to earn reward points that are redeemable for future travel.

Source: CheapOair  

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How to Safely Slow Cook

February 6, 2018 1:39 am

For those of us who live a busy life and still need to nourish ourselves and our families, slow cookers can be a huge help. Simply load up your cooker before work, set the timer, and go. However, according to the National Fire Protection Association, the popular kitchen appliance causes an average of 150 home structure fires per year. Erie Insurance offers these slow cooker tips for a safe slow-cooked meal.

Not everything is better with age. If you're just starting out and you've been "gifted" your mom's (or grandma's) old slow cooker, there's something to consider: age. While it might be in great working order, a vintage slow cooker from the '70s or '80s with an insert firmly attached to the heating element might need to be upgraded. Some older models also had vent holes or a notch in the lid for a spoon. Slow cooker lids should fit snugly. If it’s warped or has one of the above-mentioned features, steam and heat will escape.

Make the connection. It's important to regularly check the slow cooker's electrical cord. If there's any sign of wear or tear, it's time to buy a new one. Using a slow cooker with a broken plug or wire is a fire hazard.

Location, location, location. It's important to keep the slow cooker away from the edge of countertops, and this includes not having the cord dangle off the edge. The closer it is to the edge, the easier it is for a person (or pet) to bump it or knock it over.

Tips to simmer over. If you're curious to see if your slow cooker is in working order, you can do a simple water test. Older slow cookers may not work as well as they once did, and for temperature and food safety purposes, the water test (see below) will help you decide if you should keep it or toss it.

Fill the slow cooker 2/3 full with tap water (tepid water) and set it on the low setting. After eight hours, use a thermometer to check the water's temperature, which should be at least 185 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Every slow cooker is different, with varying specifications by make and model. Follow the manufacturer's directions and take heed of anything suspicious or concerning.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you pull out your slow cooker or any other small kitchen appliances.

Source: Erie Insurance  

Published with permission from RISMedia.


10 Tips for Making Healthier Choices, Year-Round

February 2, 2018 1:24 am

Many of us begin making healthier choices when a new year rolls around, but as February gets underway, these good intentions can often fall by the wayside. To help combat this, Giant's team of 11 nutritionists came together to share their 10 best tips for extending New Year's resolutions.

1. Find your motivation. Share your motivations with a close and trusted friend, coworker, or relative. They can cheer you on and remind you why you are pursuing change.

2. Make it fun. When it comes to fitness, find something you enjoy doing. Whether it's long walks, barre classes, martial arts, peaceful yoga or pick-up sports games, you're more likely to stick with it if you're having fun! Bored of the same routine? Try a new fitness class or meet with a staff member at your local gym or community center.

3. Amp up your hydration. This one is often overlooked, but it's key to overall health. Add an extra eight ounces of water to your day. More fluids will help you stay hydrated, and those extra walks to the restroom will increase your activity.

4. Try something new. Make 2018 the year of variety and trying new things. Start out by trying a new fruit or veggie each week before moving onto other food categories like grains or healthy oils.  

5. Load up on fruits and veggies. This rule is timeless for a reason. Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and/or vegetables at each meal or snack. If you're indulging with a few bites of a less healthy item or snack, you'll still have a half healthy plate.

6. Find a buddy. It's no secret that working toward and achieving goals is more fun with friends. Plus, when you share a similar objective, you can keep each other up-to-date on your progress and encourage one another along the way.

7. Get cooking. Work on easing yourself into a healthier routine by testing out one new recipe each week. Swap recipe ideas with family and friends to stay motivated. This is also a great way to incorporate tip four as you work to create recipes using one new ingredient each week.

8. Keep yourself accountable. Make a list of the top three reasons why you want to improve your health and stick it on the refrigerator or another space you see every day.  This constant visual will reinforce your new healthy habits.

9. Shop smart. Fill your shopping cart according to MyPlate recommendations. You can't eat half a plate of fruits and veggies at every meal if you don't buy half a grocery cart of fruits and veggies.  

10. Plan for the unexpected. Pack a tote of nutritious snacks when on the go–nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies–so that you won't reach for less healthy snack foods. This is great for day trips with the family or even just a busy day of errands. You'll be glad you didn't need to rely on that soft pretzel at the mall. You can also keep a small bag of nutritious snacks at the office or in your car.

Remember to keep your goals realistic. It's not necessary to attempt all of these tips at once, so pick one or two that seem manageable for you.Source:  Giant Food of Landover, Md.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


How to Prevent a Fire in Your Home

February 2, 2018 1:24 am

Whether you're a lover of candles or toasty fires in the fireplace, watching flames flicker from the comfort of your own home can be lovely. However, home fires are the leading cause of home damage, so keep the following safety measures in mind, courtesy of American Red Cross.

- Keep all potential sources of fuel–paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs–at least three feet away from sources of heat.
- Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended.
- Place space heaters on a level, hard and nonflammable surface. Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Look for space heaters that shut off automatically if they are to fall over.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
-  Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen.

Source: American Red Cross

Published with permission from RISMedia.