Halloween Safety Tips 2016
With Halloween right around the corner, Patrick Parker Realty has consulted with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to provide some important safety tips.
Yes, Halloween brings fun and sweets to children, but those ghouls and goblins are not the things to be afraid about. Accidents and mishaps increase dramatically on Halloween night.
Here are some tips to help ensure you and your family have a safe and enjoyable holiday:
ALL DRESSED UP
- Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
- Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
- Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
- When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
- If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
- Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
- Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.
CARVING A NICHE
- Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
- Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
- Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.
HOME SAFE HOME
- To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
- Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
- Wet leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
- Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
- Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
- If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
- Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
- Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:
– Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
– Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
– Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
– Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
– If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
– Never cut across yards or use alleys.
– Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
– Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
- Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
- A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
- Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
- Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
- Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.
BE MINDFUL OF CURRENT EVENTS
These aren’t tips we pulled from the AAP website, or the Department of Education or elsewhere. These are just some tips that fall under the ‘common sense’ category given current events. Sadly, our opinion is to avoid clown costumes – especially – “scary” clowns. Just steer clear altogether. We might also recommend avoiding politically themed costumes. This may be more relevant for older kids and/or young adult. Given this heated election a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton mask – while it shouldn’t – could invite trouble in the form of conflict, even violence. For (mature) adults going to parties it may be a different story, but kids of all ages are more knowledgeable about this year’s campaign than ever and with all the heated opinions out there, it may just be safer to express your opinion in other ways.
Happy Halloween from everybody at Patrick Parker Realty!
5 Neighborhood Features That Boost Resale Value
When you’re in the market to buy a home certain factors are on the top of your list — be they large walk-in closets, a gourmet kitchen, or a private backyard. But beyond the details of the house itself, your potential new abode’s neighborhood will most likely be high on your list (location, location, location!).
Maybe it’s the community pool, the nearby biking trails, or walkability to the elementary school and grocery store. Or maybe it’s the overall curb appeal of the neighborhood… Who wouldn’t like a tree-lined street or a neighborhood bursting with inviting, colorful flowers and shrubs?
Here’s a list of the neighborhood features that not only satisfy your home-buying checklist but also boost your resale and property value in the future:
Yes, it seems as if we drive or take public transportation everywhere these days. But the truth is, there’s something about being able to walk out your front door and head down the street to the grocery store or local coffee shop that not only appeals to potential buyers but also boosts your resale value significantly. Look for “close to all” in listing details… and scope out the neighborhood to see exactly what that means.
Homeowners love neighborhood amenities. Typically, new-home communities offer pools, fitness facilities, parks and play areas. Amenities such as tennis courts, walking and biking trails, and dog parks do incredible things to boost a home’s resale value — especially for families looking to buy.
3. Historic charm
The historic character of a neighborhood tends to help resale value, as it is a feature that is difficult to replicate. Many times, historically designated districts will aim to maintain a certain level of uniformity and have community commissions to help preserve the neighborhood aesthetic, which in turn will help preserve values.
4. Unique homes
Not everyone wants to choose from the four models a builder offers — and only those four models — which is why neighborhoods that offer you the choice of semicustom or custom homes sometimes have a better resale value than ones that don’t.
Areas with custom and semicustom homes, compared to cookie-cutter production homes, tend to show larger increases in value over time. More astute buyers prefer unique homes with character that add to the charm of the neighborhood and are more likely to own for longer periods of time, creating less turnover in the neighborhood and higher value.
It almost goes without saying that if a neighborhood is located in a great school district, it immediately boosts a home’s resale value. If a home is in a quality school district, those communities tend to not only retain their value, but appreciate as well. There will always be parents who want their children attending great schools.
What neighborhood feature attracted you to your home? Sound off in Comments, on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook or Twitter pages and don’t forget to sign up for the monthly Patrick Parker Realty eNewsletter for more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
7 Tips to Raise Financially Savvy Kids
Here are 7 tips to help you guide you shape your children into financially savvy adults:
1. Show them money going in, not just out.
If your kids only see you with drawing those $20 bills from the ATM, they’re going to think machines hand out money. Make sure they also see you depositing funds.
2. Teach them to set goals and save for them.
Label a jar with a set amount of money to be used for something specific. Start small-say,$5 to buy some ice cream and sprinkles. Collect $5 worth of change in the jar and count it out before buying the treat.Keep this money separate when you go to the store, so your child can buy the ice cream himself with the cash.
3. Differentiate between wanting and needing.
You need shoes, but you want the trendiest brand. You need food, but you want to eat out.Apply this rule to anything you buy and to any of their requests for “stuff.”
4. Make choices, not sacrifices.
Instead of saying ‘We can’t afford that,’ That’s too expensive,’ or just saying no, substitute a comment that expresses an intentional choice. Examples: ‘I want to stay home and visit state parks this year so we can save for a special vacation next year. ‘I choose to bring my coffee (or water, or soda) with me and not buy it at the convenience store so I can save that money for more important things.’ Instead of feeling that ‘no’ means sacrifice, scarcity, or embarrassment, children learn that life is about making choices.
5. Show them you’re planning for the future.
In addition to using a change jar to save for special treats, let your kids hear you talk about saving fora new roof, paying off the car, putting money aside to celebrate a birthday, saving fort heir education, and paying bills on time.
6. Give to others.
Along with that jar for ice cream,label another jar for charity. Make sure your children put a fixed percentage of their earnings and allowance in it. And make sure they see you giving to others, whether it’s tithing to the church, writing a check to an on profit, or volunteering for a charitable cause.
7. Turn off the shopping channel.
Keep TV time to a minimum to avoid the “buy me” ads that dominate. Also point out the marketing tricks that advertisers use, and make sure your kids understand how they try to sell.
Do you have tips to add to the list? What are you doing now to raise financially responsible kids? Leave your feedback in Comments, on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook or Twitter pages and don’t forget to sign up for the monthly Patrick Parker Realty eNewsletter for more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
Red Cross Ready Checklist for each Member of Your Family
During a disaster, your family may have to leave your home and depart from your daily routine. Children may become anxious, confused, or frightened. It is important to give children guidance that will help them reduce their fears.
Children depend on daily routines. They wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, play with friends. When emergencies or disasters interrupt this routine, many children may become anxious.
In a disaster, they’ll look to you and other adults for help. How you react to an emergency gives them clues on how to act. If you react with alarm, your child may become more scared. They see your fear as proof that the danger is real. If you seem overcome with a sense of loss, your child may feel their losses more strongly.
Children’s fears may also arise from their imagination, and you should take these feelings seriously. A child who feels afraid is afraid. Your words and actions can provide reassurance. When talking with your child, be sure to present a realistic picture that is both honest and manageable.
Feelings of fear are healthy and natural for both adults and children. But as an adult, you need to keep control of the situation. When you’re sure that danger has passed, concentrate on your child’s emotional needs by asking the child what’s uppermost in his or her mind. Having children participate in the family’s recovery activities will help them feel that their life will soon return to “normal.” Your response during this time may have a lasting impact.
Senior citizens should create a personal support network made up of several individuals who will check in on them in an emergency, to ensure their wellness and to give assistance if needed. This personal support network, ideally made up of 3 individuals, can consist of friends, roommates, family members, relatives, personal attendants, co-workers and neighbors.
There are seven important items to discuss and implement with a personal support network:
- Make arrangements, prior to an emergency, for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.
- Exchange important keys.
- Show them where you keep emergency supplies.
- Share copies of your relevant emergency documents, evacuation plans and emergency health information card.
- Agree on and practice methods for contacting each other in an emergency. Do not count on the telephones working.
- You and your personal support network should always notify each other when you are going out of town and when you will return.
- The relationship should be mutual. You have a lot to contribute! Learn about each other’s needs and how to help each other in an emergency. You might take responsibility for food supplies and preparation, organizing neighborhood watch meetings and interpreting, among other things.
A great tool to help prepare an aging loved one for an emergency, is the Preparedness Guide for Seniors by Seniors offered as a free download by the Red Cross.
And, Knowing that you can’t always be there when a loved one might need you, the Red Cross is proud to offer Lifeline. The Lifeline service allows people to get access to fast help, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with the push of a button. Learn more Lifeline from Red Cross.
People with Disabilities
Emergencies can happen at a moment’s notice. Mobility problems and hearing, learning, or seeing disabilities can add complication. It is important to plan ahead so you are better prepared for any urgent situation.
If this is relevant in your life, we encourage you to download the Red Cross booklet; Preparing for Disaster for People with Disabilities and other Special Needs. You’ll find tips on getting informed, making a plan, assembling a kit, and keeping your plans up to date.
In the event of a disaster, if you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them too. If it’s not safe for you to stay behind then it’s not safe to leave pets behind either. Take action now so you know how to best care for your furry friends when the unexpected occurs.
- Local and state health and safety regulations do not permit the Red Cross to allow pets in disaster shelters. (Service animals are allowed in Red Cross shelters.)
- Contact hotels and motels outside your local area to check their policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size and species. Ask if “no pet” policies can be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of “pet friendly” places, including phone numbers, with your disaster supplies.
- Ask friends, relatives or others outside the affected area whether they could shelter your animals.
- Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.
- Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets during a disaster.
Assemble a Pet Emergency Preparedness Kit:
Keep your pet’s essential supplies in sturdy containers that can be easily accessed and carried (a duffle bag or covered trash containers, for example). Your pet emergency preparedness kit should include:
- Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a First Aid kit.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can’t escape.
- Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
- Food, drinkable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and manual can opener.
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
- Pet bed or toys if easily transportable.
Help Emergency Workers Help Your Pets
The ASPCA recommends using a rescue sticker alert to let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes the types and number of pets in your household and your veterinarian’s phone number.
If you must evacuate with you pets (and if time allows) write “EVACUATED” across the stickers so rescue workers don’t waste time looking for them.
Get an ASPCA Rescue Sticker
Download Great First Aid and Emergency Preparedness Apps offered by The American Red Cross.
Stay safe, we hope you never need this advice.
New Jersey’s Top Performing Public High Schools
By Frederick Kaimann/The Star-Ledger
As you prepare your move to or within the Jersey Shore area a very important consideration for many is the quality of the school district. Well now you will find New Jersey’s public high school’s use a new, proprietary rating formula this year. Instead of judging schools based on a snapshot of a single year’s test scores, High School achievement scores now compare results during a four-year period, looking for trends in Student achievement.
The ratings cull data from the New Jersey Department of Education, which reported the High School Proficiency Assessment results for language arts and math tests among the general student population. Then SAT scores for each school were added and weighted. The results separate the best schools from the worst using the same four letter grades your children see scrawled across their assignments — A, B, C and D.
Top schools earned A’s, and below average schools in need of improvement earned D’s.
In an Interactive New Jersey High School Achievement Score Chart offered by The Star Ledger, median home prices, drawn from the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey, are also listed, which tabulates values along school district lines.
As Patrick Parker Realty knows how important this information is to many of you when choosing a home, we want to bring your attention to the results of this Star Ledger study.
So you’ve found the home you love, you’ve had it inspected, you’ve crossed all items off your home-buyer to-do checklist and you’re ready to go to closing. There is one final detail not to be overlooked to make sure you’ll stay happy in your new home.
Make sure to explore the following…
1. How’s the noise? Check the noise level surrounding the home at various times of day and days of the week, such as the weekday versus the weekend. For example, is the home in a flight path or on an ambulance or fire truck route?
2. Are there any easements or encroachments on the property? An easement will allow others to use a portion of your property for a specific purpose. A land survey will reveal property lines, any easements, or encroachments—such as from a garage or fence—from neighbors either intentionally or unintentionally invading the property line.
3. Is the house up to code? Ensure that the home’s previous owners did not fail to get a permit for any major renovation project. It’ll become the buyer’s responsibility otherwise.
4. What are the school, park, and police districts? School district boundaries can affect the home’s resale value and marketability so they’re important to note (and they can change), even if the buyer doesn’t have school-age children. Also, it’s important to determine which amenities and services are included in your taxes, and which (like trash pick-up) may cost extra.
5. What are the local rules? Even when the buyers move in, they’ll still have to abide by city/township and county rules. Buyers should check with any rules by their homeowner or condo association, if applicable, beforehand, too. If you’re in the trades and your van has your company name on it, for example, you may not be able to park it in front of the home because it is considered ‘business signage.’
Answers to these questions relate to quality of life. Make sure there are no surprises!
Adapted from: “Don’t overlook these homebuying details,” The Chicago Tribune (June 21, 2013)
One of the key drivers of homes sales, the employment rate, is beginning to show promising signs of a turnaround. The four-week average for jobless claims, as of November 19, was 394,250, a drop of 3,250 from the previous four weeks, and at the lowest levels since April. Consumer confidence also rose 15 points in the last month, and is now at its highest point since July of this year. Eric Green, Chief Market Economist at TD Securities Inc. said, “The trend remains very constructive. Jobless claims are back below 400,000, which seems to be the pivot point in terms of a strengthening labor market as opposed to a weakening one.”
In addition to improving employment conditions, home affordability also improved as interest rates fell further, opening the door for more first-time home buyers who accounted for 34% of the sales in October, an increase from 32% last month and over last year. The western United States saw the greatest increase in home sales, which were up 4.4% month to month and up over 15% from last year.
A strengthening job market, along with encouraging signs from the housing sector, including a 10% jump in pending sales for October, are strong economic forces. While mortgage lending still remains a challenge, these forces may send a signal to banks to relax lending regulations and allow for a more rapid recovery.
Mortgage rates continue to push lower, dropping to 3.98% from 4.23% in October of 2010, offering historic affordability to today’s home buyers. While mortgage lending conditions continue to be a challenge, more and more people are seeing the advantage of buying a home sooner rather than later. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said, “Home sales have been plodding along at a sub-par level while interest rates are hovering at record lows and there is a pent-up demand from buyers who normally would have entered the market in recent years. We hope this indicates more buyers are taking advantage of the excellent affordability conditions.”
Interest rates are at record lows these days, and this 4th Quarter appears to be much busier then the first three, which I believe is a direct result of affordability conditions.
Existing homes sales improved 1.4% in October, or to an annual pace of 4.97 million, a 13.5% increase from October of last year. Even more dramatic, was the jump in pending home sales, which surged in October by 10.4% from September, and were up 9.2% from October 2010. This jump in pending sales could lead to a strong fourth quarter as signs continue to point to a pent-up demand brought on by current lending conditions of mortgage providers.
The national median home price in the U.S. saw a small decline in October to $162,500, from $165,800 in September. This number can be affected by the sale of distressed properties, which typically sell at discounted prices. Distressed properties accounted for 28% of homes sales in October. Yet despite a drop in the median price from last September, the Federal Housing Finance Authority reported that seasonally adjusted prices rose 0.2% in the third quarter from the second quarter in 2011, which could be an early sign of appreciating home prices.
By the end of October, the total number of homes on the market had fallen 2.2% to 3.33 million homes, which represents 8 months of inventory at the current sales pace. Since a record high of 4.58 million homes in July 2008, the inventory of homes for sale has been steadily declining. When homes sell faster than they come on the market, the market comes from its current favor toward buyers into balance or in favor of sellers. This can trigger an appreciation in home prices and lead the way to a stronger recovery.
Deciding to Buy
When first-time home buyers decide they are ready to buy, it is important for them to begin the process by carefully assessing their values, wants, and needs—both for the short and long term. This is a critical step since consultation sessions normally start with the buyers’ values. Afterward, buyers can explore their wants and needs and, once defined, determine actual criteria.
A recent study shows how important the following home-buying factors were to buyers:
• List Price: 72%
• Location: 69%
• Neighborhood: 55%
• Floor Plan: 37%
• Square Footage: 28%
• Schools: 22%
By having the home-buying criteria in mind before walking into a consultation, buyers are off to a better start when meeting with their real estate agent. The consultation allows buyers to fill in any missing gaps within their values, wants, and needs. Typically, I find that most buyers which meet with me have a much clearer vision as to what they want.
Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season from the Patrick Parker Team!
The summer is flying by – as it always seems to do – and it is almost time to start thinking about sending kids back to school again! Whether you are new to the Jersey Shore area or already have kids in school here, now is the time to take a good look at how the schools are measuring up.
Below is a link to information on Bradley Beach schools (searchable by city or ZIP code) – does YOUR child’s school make the grade? Bradley Beach School ReportsTo learn more about moving your family to the Jersey Shore area or Bradley Beach real estate, please call me at 201-788-6182 or visit www.PatrickParkerHomes.com.
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