News & Updates

Getting Ahead of Simple Winter Projects

DHREA 24/10/2018

doorhinge

Accomplishments, even little ones, go a long way toward a sunny outlook. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy, quick home repair chores you can do when you’re mired in the thick of winter. For max efficiency, make a to-do list ahead of time and shop for all the tools and supplies in one trip. On your work days, put the basics in a basket and carry it from room to room, checking off completed tasks as you speed through them.

What to Look (and Listen) For

In each room, look around and take stock of what needs fixing or improving. Focus on small, quick-hit changes, not major redos. Here are some likely suspects:

Sagging towel rack or wobbly toilet tissue holder.

Unscrew the fixture and look for the culprit. It’s probably a wimpy, push-in type plastic drywall anchor. Pull that out (or just poke it through the wall) and replace it with something more substantial.

Squeaky door hinges.

Eliminate squeaks by squirting a puff of powdered graphite alongside the pin where the hinge turns. If the door sticks, plane off a bit of the wood, then touch up the paint so the surgery isn’t noticeable.

Creaky floor boards.

They’ll shush if you fasten them down better. Anti-squeak repair kits feature specially designed screws that are easy to conceal. A low-cost alternative: Dust a little talcum powder into the seam where floorboards meet…the talcum acts as a lubricant to quiet boards that rub against each other.

Rusty shutoff valves.

Check under sinks and behind toilets for the shutoff valves on your water supply lines. These little-used valves may slowly rust in place over time, and might not work when you need them most. Keep them operating by putting a little machine oil or WD-40 on the handle shafts. Twist the handles back and forth to work the oil into the threads. If they won’t budge, give the oil a couple of hours to penetrate, and try again.

Blistered paint on shower ceilings.

This area gets a lot of heat and moisture that stresses paint finishes. Scrape off old paint and recoat, using a high-quality exterior-grade paint. Also, be sure everyone uses the bathroom vent when showering to help get rid of excess moisture.

Loose handles or hinges on furniture, cabinets, and doors.

You can probably fix these with a few quick turns of a screwdriver. But if a screw just spins in place, try making the hole fit the screw better by stuffing in a toothpick coated with glue, or switching to a larger screw.

Safety Items

You know those routine safety checks you keep meaning to do but never have the time? Now’s the time.

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

If you don’t like waking up to the annoying chirp of smoke detector batteries as they wear down, do what many fire departments recommend and simply replace all of them at the same time once a year.

Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets.

You’re supposed to test them once a month, but who does? Now’s a great time. You’ll find them around potentially wet areas…building codes specify GFCI outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, and for outdoor receptacles. Make sure the device trips and resets correctly. If you find a faulty outlet, replace it or get an electrician to do it for $75 to $100.

Exhaust filter for the kitchen stove.

By washing it to remove grease, you’ll increase the efficiency of your exhaust vent; plus, if a kitchen stove top fire breaks out, this will help keep the flames from spreading.

Clothes dryer vent.

Pull the dryer out from the wall, disconnect the vent pipe, and vacuum lint out of the pipe and the place where it connects to the machine. Also, wipe lint off your exterior dryer vent so the flap opens and closes easily. (You’ll need to go outside for that, but it’s quick.) Remember that vents clogged with old dryer lint are a leading cause of house fires.

Drain hoses.

Inspect your clothes washer, dishwasher, and ice maker. If you see any cracks or drips, replace the hose so you don’t come home to a flood one day.

Electrical cords.

Replace any that are brittle, cracked, or have damaged plugs. If you’re using extension cords, see if you can eliminate them. For example, replacing that too-short lamp cord with one that’s longer. If you don’t feel up to rewiring the lamp yourself, drop it off at a repair shop as you head out to shop for your repair materials. It might not be ready by the end of the day. But, hey, one half-done repair that you can’t check off is no big deal, right?

 

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Property Update for 316 Shields in Edgeworth!

DHREA 24/10/2018

 

🎈Sold!🎈

This wonderful home at 316 Shields in Edgeworth is off the market…for now!

Shannon Staley and Sons will be applying their expertise and turning this into an amazingly renovated and updated property. The home is already stunning…we can’t wait to see what the finished result will look like!

Stay tuned as we continue to post updates regarding this wonderful property so you can see the development happen in real time, and you can also follow Chris Ciccarelli on his Facebook page for updates!

 

 

Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Workshop group on MeetUp.com today! You’ll be the first to receive updates regarding Alex’s monthly real estate workshops while you connect with nearly 600 other professionals!

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Carnegie, PA
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Trick or Treat Safety Tips!

DHREA 23/10/2018

treatortrick

 

Let’s talk Trick or Treat safety! Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

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 or snow 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.

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN:

  • 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.

 

 

Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Networking Workshop group today!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
573 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

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Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

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Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

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#TaraMTG Tuesdays: Unpacking and Understanding The Mortgage Payment

DHREA 23/10/2018

(Every Tuesday we feature a blog from one of our fantastic affiliates, Tara Mortgage Services!)

 

As a first-time homebuyer, you likely have questions about your mortgage payments and how it’s calculated. How much can you expect to pay? How are taxes paid? What’s the purpose of mortgage insurance?

This post will unpack your mortgage payment so you know what you’re paying for each month.

How the payments are broken down depending on the type of loan, but generally, you can expect your mortgage payment to include 4 items. These items are lumped into a single monthly payment and can be remembered with the acronym P-I-T-I.

P is for Principal

The principle is the total amount that you borrow to buy the home. For example, if your loan is for $240k, your principal is also $240k. The amount you pay toward the principal doesn’t usually change, unless you refinance, and depends on the amount of your initial down payment and the total life of the loan.

I is for Interest

Interest is the fee you pay for borrowing the funds to buy the home. Also known as the mortgage rate, it varies depending on market conditions at the time you locked in your home loan. Your rate is also determined by your credit history, among other factors.

There are two mortgage rate options for homebuyers – a fixed-rate mortgage and an adjustable-rate mortgage. With a fixed rate, your interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan, even if market rates go up over the years.

With an adjustable rate, your interest rate is fixed for a set amount of time (usually five years), then changes to whatever the current market rate. With an adjustable rate, your mortgage payment may increase or decrease at each adjustment interim.

T is for Taxes

Taxes are based on the value of your property. Your property is assessed every year to determine how much you will pay in property taxes. You can choose to include the property tax in your mortgage payment, dividing your annual bill into 12 payments. It’ll be held in escrow until taxes are due, after which they are paid on your behalf.

I is for Insurance

Insurance protects the loan in the event of a disaster or an accident. Similar to property taxes, your insurance payments can be collected, held in escrow, and paid to the insurance company directly every year. Usually, your insurance payment won’t change over the years, unless you add additional coverage.

Knowledge is power, and we believe that every homebuyer should know where their monthly mortgage payment goes. Whether you’re ready to buy or you’re looking to refinance into a lower rate, a helpful home loan specialist is available to you through the phone, on the web, or in person.

Contact Tara Mortgage Services today to learn more!

 

 

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Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
573 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

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Pittsburgh has been receiving accolade after accolade. What’s the latest for the Steel City?

DHREA 22/10/2018

Long gone are the days when smog littered the skies of Pittsburgh, and the city keeps reaping the benefits. This time, in the form of a grant by the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, a $70 million initiative expected to accelerate the city’s efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents. Pittsburgh was one of six first round winners, mainly due to the drastic makeover the Steel City has seen over the years. We’ve gone from ash colored snow, to some of the most scenic views in the world. Check out this wonderful article explaining the award in full detail by clicking this link!

 

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Carnegie, PA
573 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

 

 

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Preparing Your Gutters For Autumn and Winter!

DHREA 22/10/2018

gutters

 

Home exterior upkeep has gone from mowers and hoses to rakes and ladders. No other outside component of your house is as susceptible to the conditions of autumn than your gutters. Leaves, twigs, rain, and low temperatures are locked and loaded and ready to put your gutter system to the test. Now that it’s the last week of October and you’ve procrastinated enough, it’s time to officially prepare your gutters for the season!

CLEAN AND INSPECT

The first rule of fall season gutter preparedness is clean and inspect. Unravel your garden hose one last time before it’s tucked into the garage until spring and flush out your gutters and downspouts. Give it a high pressure hosing and then put on your outdoor work gloves to pick up and wipe away any remaining debris. If it’s been a long time since you’ve cleaned your gutters you will want to fill up a bucket with warm water and liquid dish soap and wipe them down with a sturdy sponge. Only when your gutters have been thoroughly cleaned can you perform a proper inspection. The reason for the subsequent inspection? To check for loose brackets/screws, uneven sections, leaks, or any form of excessive wear and tear.

REPAIR WHERE NEEDED

Once you’ve cleaned and inspected your gutters you will have a good idea of where repair is essential. This can’t wait. Buy exact-fit brackets and screws and then replace and secure them where needed. If you’ve uncovered leaks, it may be possible to patch them. For good measure, clean the area surrounding the leak again, but this time using a wire brush and water, then scrub with an abrasive pad once it has dried. Apply plastic roofing cement over the hole with a putty knife while smoothing out the edges of the cement. If the hole is too big, you can apply a strip of aluminum flashing to the area, and seal the edges with the cement. If the repairs are significant enough that they have impacted the appearance of your gutters you can always paint them when the weather forecast permits.

KEEP COLD WEATHER INTRUDERS OUT

Autumn doesn’t just bring falling leaves and rainfall, its cold snap sends rodents (mice, rats, squirrels and raccoons) packing for higher ground. The cozy beds presented by your concave gutters and downspout exit points gives them a place to nest. Pay a visit to your local home and garden store for humane rodent repellent and check your gutters often through the season to ensure they are free from nesting intruders.

INSTALL GUTTER GUARDS

No matter how well you’ve trimmed your trees and raked the yard leaves will still find their way on to your roof. It’s what they do. If you don’t yet have them, autumn is prime time to finally install gutter guards. A gutter guard, is a fitted screen with pinpoints wide enough to allow rainwater to collect within and funnel through while preventing leaves and twigs from entering. A sound leaf protection system will accommodate both vinyl and aluminum gutters, will be maintenance-free, and can be installed on your existing system by a professional without hassle to you, the homeowner.

WHEN IN DOUBT…INSTALL A NEW GUTTER SYSTEM

Ok, so this isn’t the answer for everyone. However, if your inspection, cleaning, and attempts at repair may have hinted that your gutters need replacing in the near future. If that’s the case, then it may as well be now. Delaying the inevitable and waiting another year or two can spell big trouble. One harsh autumn storm could deal the final blow that results in significant gutter damage, damage that will impact your landscape, home exterior, and worse…the interior. The good news, is that you are entering the best season to make your decision on a new system.

Depending upon the height of your roof and exposure to foliage (trees in close proximity) a new standard system may be all that you need to get you through numerous autumns to come. A 5 or 6-inch continuous or eavestrough system can be professionally mounted on your fascia board with relative ease and in time for autumn’s first bite. A 5-inch fascia or eavestrough gutter system (for roofing without a fascia board) can also be installed with minimum turnaround time. Don’t delay your installation…contact a professional as soon as possible, before the weather catches up with the calendar!

 

 

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Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
573 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

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Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

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DHRE DIY Corner: Improve In-Home Air Quality!

DHREA 19/10/2018

Sneeze

 

Runny nose. Itchy eyes. A massive headache. These are just a few ailments suffered by homeowners with poor indoor air quality, potentially as a result of smoke, dust, or other contaminants. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, people spend close to 90% of their time indoors, where air quality can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside.

Although anyone can suffer from poor indoor air quality, asthma/allergy sufferers, children, and the elderly are particularly sensitive. Fortunately, a few simple and affordable home improvements can go a long way to benefit your home’s air.

Avoid Scented Sprays
Despite their fresh scents, air fresheners and laundry products can emit dozens of chemicals. For truly fresh air, look for fragrance-free or natural products and skip aerosol sprays. Keep rooms ventilated by opening windows, and add a plant to help purify your air.

Control Dust
Household dust can trap chemicals and allergens. Some objects are prone to dust, such as rugs, upholstered furniture, and infrequently moved accessories. Opt for easy-to-clean or washable items to avoid dust getting trapped in your space. Try to avoid clutter at all costs! Large piles of “I’ll get to it later” is a vacation resort for dust.

Dehumidify Damp Areas
Moisture can attract dust mites, mildew, and mold. Your rooms should be kept at a safe 30% to 50% humidity level. An inexpensive indoor humidity monitor will check your home’s levels, and a basic dehumidifier can solve many moisture challenges.

Clean Floors Regularly
If you can, use a vacuum cleaner that is equipped with a HEPA filter and rotating brushes to remove dust and dirt from floors. Vacuum at least once a week, especially in high-traffic areas. A good vacuum will not blow dust or dirt out in the exhaust. Twice a month, use a microfiber mop on hard floors, skipping any chemical cleaning solutions in favor of warm water or a natural product.

 

 

Network with nearly 600 other Real Estate professionals! Join Alex Deacon’s Real Estate Workshop group on MeetUp.com today!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
571 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

 

 

 

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Another list? Where did Pittsburgh land #1 at this time?

DHREA 18/10/2018

 

Last week we wrote about the city of Pittsburgh making another “Top” list in Forbes, and here we are again. Another week, another publication, another list, another #1 spot for the Steel City. In the USA Today article listed below, Pittsburgh ranked tops in…JOBS! Another reason to love this wonderful city. Check out the great article at the link below and see what metrics were factored in to our ranking!

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/10/17/jobs-best-cities-employment-pittsburgh-st-louis/1663975002/

 

 

Join nearly 600 Real Estate professionals in Alex Deacon’s Workshop group today!

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
571 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

 

 

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Catch up on Alex Deacon and Ian Hoover’s Real Estate podcasts!

DHREA 17/10/2018

 

If you haven’t been listening to our great podcasts, there’s never been a better time to start! With almost 40 hours of knowledge from Alex Deacon, Ian Hoover, and many other special guests, these audio clips are fantastic for ANY real estate professional. Listen below, or you can find us on Apple Podcasts and Google Music! 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
571 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

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#TaraMTG Tuesdays: Is A Reverse Mortgage Better Than A Traditional Mortgage?

DHREA 16/10/2018

(Every Tuesday we feature a blog from one of our fantastic affiliates, Tara Mortgage Services!)

 

Reverse mortgage versus a traditional mortgage…is one better than the other? The answer is that it depends on the situation. They have many similarities, but there are a few key differences that make reverse mortgages a better choice than a traditional mortgage. Or vice versa.

This article breaks down the basics of these two types of home loans to give you a general idea of when to choose one over the other. Because every situation is unique, we encourage you to call Tara Mortgage Services for personalized and honest home loan assistance.

Similarities Between Reverse Mortgages and Traditional Mortgages

One similarity that these home loans share is that they both allow you to borrow money based on your home equity. Both loans are also available with a few different options such as a fixed or adjustable rate or may government insured. An example of a traditional home loan that is insured by the government is an FHA loan while an example of a government-insured reverse mortgage is a HECM.

Differences Between Reverse Mortgages and Traditional Mortgages

The most notable difference is that there are no monthly payments required on a reverse mortgage. You pay as little or as much as you want when you want. This payment option is possible with a reverse mortgage because it works mainly by borrowing money against a home that you already own. With a traditional loan, you borrow money from a lender and promise to pay it back, plus interest, over several years.

A reverse mortgage is most often used to get cash out of your home. Although you can get cash out when you refinance with a traditional loan, most often people will refinance to a conventional loan to lower their monthly payments or get a lower interest rate.

When it comes to paying back the loan, with a traditional mortgage you pay it back every month for several years, as we mentioned above. However, with a reverse mortgage, you can choose to make monthly payments, pay off the loan through the sale of your home, or at your passing.

Which Loan is Right for You?

If you’re over the age of 62 and are looking at you home loan options, a reverse mortgage may seem pretty attractive. In many cases it is a better choice, but not always. Investments, lifestyle, immediate financial needs, and what you plan to in your trust for your beneficiaries are all items to consider before deciding on one option over the other.

If you are investigating these options for a parent of retirement age rather than for yourself, please forward this information to your parents. We’ve earned a reputation of trust and steadfastness –you can confidently recommend Tara Mortgage Services to your family and friends.

 

 

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Alex Deacon Real Estate Networking Workshops

Carnegie, PA
572 Members

Learn investing from a local expert with a vast amount of experience in the Pittsburgh market. Alex started investing in 1993. We will review hands on examples, analysis, and …

Check out this Meetup Group →

Visit our affiliates!

MACE Property Management: www.PittsburghPropertyManagement.com

Tara Mortgage Services, LLC: www.Tara-MTG.net

HDH Settlement Services, LLC: www.HDHTitle.com

Burkhead Insurance Services: Burkhead.Insure

Bin There Dump That: www.PittsburghDumpsterRental.com

 

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