Kerry Ziegler
Phone:  215-679-6877Office:  215-679-9797
Email:  kzhomes@comcast.netFax:  267-354-6922
Kerry Ziegler
Kerry Ziegler

My Blog

What is Social Jetlag and How Can You Overcome It?

June 14, 2017 2:06 am

We’ve all heard of travel jetlag, but have you heard of social jetlag? Apparently, it’s a thing. The phrase refers to when we skimp on sleep during the workweek and try to catch up on the weekend (or vise versa).  According to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in three Americans is not getting the recommended sleep every night, which falls between seven and 9 hours.  A recent study by Sierra Forbush at the University of Arizona, found that for every hour of weekly "social jet lag," there is an 11 percent increase in the chance a person will suffer from poorer health, worse mood, fatigue and an increased risk of heart disease.

"Social jet lag can occur when people 'short' themselves of sleep during the work week, and the natural drive for sleep creates a sleep debt causing people to naturally sleep longer on the weekend," said Dr. Robert Oexman, director of Kingsdown's Sleep to Live Institute. "Conversely, social jet lag can occur when people get the normal amount of sleep during the work week and then choose to stay up later the weekends pushing them to sleep in on those mornings. People often think that if they 'make up' the sleep on weekends there will be no health consequences. Unfortunately, that is not true."

Oexman says the shift in our circadian rhythm on Friday and Saturday nights makes it more difficult to fall asleep at the right time Sunday night making it more difficult to wake Monday morning.

"Any time we shorten sleep we can see the short-term consequences of fatigue, memory issues, increase risk of accidents, changes in glucose metabolism, and increase in inflammation. If it becomes chronic we see a lower immune system, increase risk of heart disease, some types of cancer, and an increased risk of anxiety and depression," said Oexman.

Below are 5 ways to conquer social jet lag.  

Stick to a regular bedtime routine: Maintain the same bed time and wake time even on the weekends.  Participate in the same relaxing activities before bed each night. Take a hot bath or shower. Light stretching and getting ready for bed in a dimly lit room may also help. Shut all electronics off 30 minutes to one hour prior to bed time.  Always allow three weeks for changes in behavior and environment to impact your sleep.

Stay up on Friday: Choosing the occasional Friday as your night out is the best bet. That allows you to recover by going to bed at your normal time Saturday and waking at your normal time Sunday morning. Hit the sack at your regular bedtime Sunday evening.

Sleep cool: Ensure the room temperature is between 65 and 68 degrees. The key is to keep your head out from under the covers and exposed to the cool temperature. Remain thermal neutral by adding or tossing blankets as needed.

Practice deep breathing: Once you're in bed, if your body is still wired from the day, you may have a difficult time falling asleep. When you practice deep breathing, your brain recognizes that you're trying to relax and sends a message to your body to do so.

Light and noise: Your bedroom should be completely dark and quiet. Even a nightlight or bright alarm clock can inhibit production of melatonin, needed to fall asleep and stay asleep.  If your bedroom windows let in a lot of natural light – get blackout curtains or wear an eye mask. Eliminate all noise from the bedroom. If this isn't possible, invest in a white or pink noise machine.

Source: www.kingsdown.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Buy Athletic Shoes

June 14, 2017 2:06 am

Looking to buy new sneakers or workout shoes? Make sure you pick ones that fit properly, to avoid a myriad of health issues, from blisters to joint pain.

Below are seven tips when buying a new pair of athletic shoes.

Try on athletic shoes at the end of the day. Your feet swell during the day, so trying on at the end of the day will mean your feet are at their largest. You'll get the best fit this way.

Wear the same type of sock that you will wear for that sport.

When the shoe is on your foot, you should be able to freely wiggle all of your toes.

Your shoes should be comfortable as soon as you try them on. There is no break-in period.

Walk or run a few steps in your shoes. Make sure they allow you to comfortably do what you do when you exercise.

Always re-lace the shoes you are trying on. You should begin at the farthest eyelets and apply even pressure as you create a crisscross lacing pattern to the top of the shoe.

There should be a firm grip of the shoe to your heel. Your heel should not slip as you walk or run.

Source: American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Travel Insurance? Is it Worth it?

June 13, 2017 2:06 am

The official hurricane season runs June 1 - Nov. 30, and experts advise considering an investment in travel insurance when heading to destinations in hurricane-prone areas. Some insurance plans now enable travelers to cancel a trip when the NOAA issues a hurricane warning for a particular destination, however, once a storm has been named, it’s too late to purchase hurricane coverage.

According to InsureMyTrip, 75 percent of customers will choose a comprehensive travel insurance policy for summer travel. This policy provides a variety of benefits including medical coverage, emergency travel services, baggage protection, trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage.

Here are some specific ways travel insurance can help protect your vacation investment:

- When common carriers such as airlines and cruise lines cease service due to weather
- When a destination is under a NOAA-issued hurricane warning or alert
- When a hotel, resort, or vacation rental is devastated and made uninhabitable by a storm
- When the home of a traveler sustains destructive storm damage

There is also an optional time-sensitive benefit that allows travelers to cancel a trip for any reason. This benefit includes specific eligibility requirements.

Source: www.InsureMyTrip.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Avoid Ticks This Summer

June 13, 2017 2:06 am

Time spent outdoors can relax, recharge, and refresh. Time spent outdoors worrying about ticks? Not so soothing.

To help homeowners protect their families and homes from a tick infestation this year, Arrow Exterminators recommends the following simple, proactive measures:

- Maintain your yard. This includes cutting tall grass, shrubbery, bushes and plants.

- Groom your pets such as dogs and cats. Ticks can easily latch onto pets when they are outside.

- Ticks are frequently found on rodents, so make sure your home is clean and rodent-free.

- When spending time outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and if possible, wear clothing light in color so ticks are easier to detect.

- Check yourself and pets for ticks whenever coming in from the outside. If any are found, quickly remove the tick or flea from your body with fine-tipped tweezers.

- Tumble-dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.

- Contact a local pest control professional if you suspect a tick infestation.

Source: http://www.arrowexterminators.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Closing Cost Primer: Know Your Terms

June 10, 2017 12:36 pm

Buying a home is undoubtedly one of the most expensive ventures of your lifetime. But it’s important to understand that much more goes into budgeting for a new home than the price of the house itself—like closing costs.

Closing costs are fees charged by the lender at the closing of your real estate transaction, and usually amount to thousands of dollars. Your real estate agent can explain and estimate what all of your particular closing costs will be, as they vary by state, but here is a handy list of terms and definitions from Bankrate.com to help bring you up to speed. Real estate lingo can be confusing, so becoming familiar with these terms in advance will help demystify the closing process.

Origination, broker, lender or originator: A fee charged to create a home loan. It's often a set percentage of the mortgage amount.

Discount points: A fee in the form of mortgage interest paid upfront. In exchange for this fee, the lender reduces the interest rate. One point is equal to 1 percent of the loan amount.

Appraisal: A fee that is passed on to a company that renders an opinion about the real value of the home, independent of its listing or negotiated price. That value is then compared against what the borrower has agreed to pay.

Credit report: A fee charged to order a history of your financial life. It includes details about your behavior as a bill payer, the amount of debt you owe, your available credit and any inquiries that companies make to obtain this information, such as your mortgage lender. A good credit report means better loan terms.

Tax service: A fee to cover the cost of hiring a company to verify the amount of real estate taxes due and making sure they're paid.

Flood certification: A fee that covers the assessment of whether a property is in a flood zone. If it is, the new homeowner must buy a flood insurance policy.

Title services: Charges for administrative costs (such as title search) associated with the delivery of title insurance, as well as the services provided by a title or escrow agent.

Title insurance: A policy that guarantees that an owner has the title to a property and can legally transfer it to someone else. Should a problem arise, the title insurer pays any legal damages. A policy may protect the mortgage lender, the homebuyer, or both.

Attorney, closing or settlement: The amount paid to an attorney for witnessing the mortgage loan transaction.
Document preparation: A fee a lender charges to a borrower for producing the documents signed at the closing table.

Inspections (pest, etc.): A fee paid to a certified person who searches the dwelling for termites and other destructive creatures.

Postal/courier: This fee covers what it costs a lender to send paperwork to the other entities involved in the mortgage transaction.

Survey: A fee charged to hire a licensed surveyor to get an accurate measurement of the property and its boundaries.

Wire transfer fee: The amount charged to transfer funds needed to close on a home loan.

Contact me today for more valuable real estate information.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What Tax Reform Could Mean for Homeowners

June 10, 2017 12:36 pm

There is so much information swirling out of Washington, D.C., these days, it’s hard for the average person to keep up, let alone determine how they will be affected by various changes to legislation. When it comes to tax reform, however, it’s important to get a handle on how proposed changes will impact your wallet—especially for homeowners.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), tax reform proposals may actually mean a tax increase for many middle-income homeowners. According to the study, “Impact of Tax Reform Options on Owner-Occupied Housing,” homeowners with adjusted gross incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would see their taxes rise by an average of $815. The study also estimates that combined tax savings from claiming the mortgage interest deduction and real estate property tax deductions would drop 82 percent between the 2018 and 2027 period.

The study, which was commissioned by NAR and prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), estimates that this tax increase would result from the interaction of several provisions in the reforms under consideration. For many homeowners that currently benefit from the mortgage interest deduction, the elimination of other itemized deductions and personal exemptions would cause their taxes to rise, even if they elected to take the increased standard deduction. For others, the elimination of the state and local tax deduction alone would result in higher federal income taxes.

In addition to increasing taxes on many middle-income homeowners, the report finds that such a proposal could cause home values to fall by an average of more than 10 percent in the near term. In areas with higher property taxes or state income taxes, the drop could be even greater. Although the study doesn’t directly analyze the “Better Way for Tax Reform” plan or the recent White House outline, it examines a proposal with many similar elements.

Those elements include lowering and consolidating marginal tax rates to only three rates, setting a top income tax rate of 33 percent, doubling the standard deduction, eliminating all itemized deductions (other than charitable contributions and mortgage interest) and personal exemptions, eliminating the alternative minimum tax, and capping the tax rate on pass-through business income at 25 percent.

PwC estimated that roughly 35 million households will claim the mortgage interest deduction in 2018, three quarters of which have incomes between $50,000 and $200,000. According to NAR, roughly 70 percent of those eligible for the mortgage interest deduction claim it in a given tax year.

Once tax reform is finalized and passed into law, be sure to consult with your accountant before filing your taxes to ensure you’re taking the proper deductions.

For even more valuable real estate information, contact me today.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Patio Panic: From Frustrating to Fab in 1 Hour

June 10, 2017 12:36 pm

Whether it’s an intimate al fresco dinner date or a backyard bash, there’s nothing quite like outdoor entertaining. But if your patio is in sore shape, you might be tempted to relegate guests to the inside. Don’t be intimidated by your patio’s disarray and miss the opportunity to take the party outside. With these quick tips, your outdoor space can be entertainment-worthy in less than an hour.
  1. Task the trimmers. Give the branches, grasses and shrubs surrounding your patio a nice, neat haircut before guests arrive. Not only will this make the area look manicured and orderly, it will make your patio feel more spacious.
  2. Fire up the leaf blower. Who said these wonderful tools are just for leaves? A quick trip around your patio with the leaf blower will remove the trimmings you just cut, along with other dirt and debris, in seconds.
  3. Freshen up the furniture. After you’ve gotten dust and leaves off the furniture with the leaf blower, use a big sponge or mop to wash down your tables and chairs with a quick solution of liquid dish detergent and water, then hose it all down. Flip cushions to the reverse side.
  4. Work some magic. Nothing turns your outdoor space from ordinary to spectacular faster than a little outdoor lighting. Think tiki torches, large candles in hurricane lamps, string lights and solar lanterns.
  5. Finagle some florals. You don’t have to find time to run to the florist. Quickly clip an assortment of flowers, grasses, pine boughs and even bare branches from around your yard to make stunning and natural arrangements. Gather them in mason jars, tin cans (labels peeled off, please) or painted buckets for a homey look, or raise the bar by bringing some of your indoor crystal vases outside.
  6. Rearrange the furniture. Help the flow of the party by strategically placing chairs and tables in spots where you want people to gather. Set up the bar in its own area and place nibbles on a variety of resting spots so everyone doesn’t clutter around one food area. This will not only add visual appeal, but help steer the flow, encourage conversation and show off your patio’s best features. 
For more real estate tips, contact me today.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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For Millennial Parents, Finances Weigh Heavily

June 10, 2017 12:36 pm

Not all millennials are the free-spirited, independent go-getters we imagine them to be. Some of them are parents with real-world concerns, such as finances. In fact, according to a study from Microban in conjunction with Turner Research Network, 64 percent of millennials surveyed cited finances and money as their No. 1 worry, and 92 percent of the millennial parents surveyed agreed that being financially secure was a significant concern.

The online survey of more than 1,000 U.S. millennial parents revealed that the group is not only concerned about being able to provide what their family wants and needs, but job stability as well. Fifty-six percent said financial security, including having more money, a better job or a job that pays better, and a new house or place to live, were things they wish they could change.

Like many in today’s frenetic culture, 75 percent of millennial parents are also concerned about not having enough time to do the things they’d like to do, such as spending more time with their family, friends, spouse or partner, hobbies, exercise or home improvement projects. When millennial parents do manage to secure some free time, chores take a back seat—74 percent report being worried about keeping a clean house.

Is financial freedom out of reach for millennial parents? Not at all. Here are some ways to create a more comfortable future:
  • Commit to paying down debt, starting with your highest interest-rate credit cards. Strive to make more than the minimum payment each month.
  • Pay yourself first by putting a set amount into your savings from every paycheck.
  • Set a household budget and stick to it. Tracking your expenses each month will reveal where you can cut back and save.
  • Start a retirement account. It’s never too early to do so, even if you can only contribute a small amount to start.
  • Consider a side gig. While you don’t want to spend even more time working, put your passion to good use with freelance or contract work. Then devote all of those earnings to your savings. 
Interested in real estate tips? Contact me today for more information.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Before You Kick Back, Make Sure Your Home Is Summer-Ready

June 10, 2017 12:36 pm

Summer allows us to slow down, stop and smell the roses and take a break from the rapid pace we usually run during the rest of the year. But before you hit the hammock and fire up the grill, take a look around your home. There are a few important maintenance checks that need to be made first.
According to Travelers Insurance, it’s important to take care of any damage that might have been caused during the winter months as soon as possible, before they become more daunting and more costly projects. Conduct an inspection both inside and outside your home and look for the following:
  • Doors and windows. Make sure locks are functioning properly and check your window screens for any holes. Go outside and check window and door frames for any evidence of damage.
  • Electrical outlets and cords. Look for any fire hazards such as frayed wires or ill-fitting plugs.
  • The plumbing. Look for leaks or problems with the float valve in your toilet and check all of its pipe connections. This is also a good time to check washing machine hoses, replacing any that show signs of wear and tear.
  • The furnace. Clean or replace your furnace filter, your dryer vent and the space under your dryer, all of which can present fire hazards.
  • Outdoor wooden structures. The wet weather of winter and spring can take a toll on steps, decks and playground equipment, so look carefully for rot, deterioration and protruding nails.
  • The roof. While there may not be any visible damage to your roof, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspector check for any potential leaks.
  • The perimeter. Take a stroll around your entire home and look closely for any other signs of damage, especially to gutters, shingles, trees and the foundation. 
Now that you know your home is safe and sound, head over to that lounge chair and start soaking in the summer.

Contact me today for more real estate tips and information.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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In this Edition: Get Your Home in Shape for Summer

June 10, 2017 12:36 pm

Our lead story in this month’s Home Matters examines simple ways to ensure your home is ready for the upcoming summer season. Other topics covered this month include quick tips to transform your patio and important real estate lingo you should know before you get to the closing table. We hope you enjoy this month’s edition of Home Matters and as always, we welcome your feedback. Email us anytime!

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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