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My Bill is What?? 5 Real Ways to Save that Buffers the “Illusion of a Deal”

My Bill is What?

My Bill is What?

As mortgage interest rates go down to historical lows, it sure seems like the price of everything else is going up. Am I wrong? With Halloween behind us and The Season of Gift Giving moving in fast, is the only way to save by buying a home? How's a person suppose to save any money these days? Whether you are buying a home, just bought a home or you are just trying to keep a roof over your head, saving money in this economy is a huge priority and we are always looking for ways to save.

I recently realized that saving money ain't what it used to be. Let's take, for example, our bi-weekly excursion to the Supermarket, the store we've shopped at for several years now.  Last week Chris and I grabbed the same darn cart (the one with the broken wheel), chose the same old staples, and maneuvered into the same long checkout line. As usual, I glanced at the tabloids with my Super Savings Card in hand while Chris unloaded the groceries onto the conveyor belt and bagged all of our stuff. Get the picture? Domestic bliss. The cashier swiped my Super Savings Card and excitedly exclaimed "You've saved thirteen dollars with your Super Savings Card!"  Wow. Thirteen bucks. Not a bad savings. Not bad at all... until I looked at the bill.


Were the grapes dipped in gold? Did they charge me 12 times for the cat litter? Should I have chosen the cheaper non-organic eggs? I remember a few years ago I spent a whole lot less for the very same groceries. Plus, I NEVER saved 13 dollars using a so called "Super Savings Card" or coupon.

What a clever strategy to make the consumer get the impression of saving when we are not really saving at all! In Real Estate we call this "the illusion of a deal" and it is a sales technique that really works even with the most experienced investors. Blast those super market mental geniuses!

Chris and I thought we'd offer some "REAL" money saving tips to our readers that will prove to provide you with a money saving return on your efforts almost immediately.

  1. Ask and you shall receive. Ask for that discount. Ask your credit card company to lower your interest rate. Ask your homeowner’s insurance company to see if you are eligible for a discount. If you ask and do not receive a discount, there is always another vendor who will be happy to provide you a savings.
  2. Out with the old and in with the new. Did you know that refrigerators older than 1990 use up three times as much energy as new ones? Did you know that shower head fixtures and faucets older that 1994 use up more than 4 gallons of water per minute. Compared to the new ones that use up about 2.2 gallons per minute. That is an update that equates to savings for you! Go with the low flow aerators found at any local Home Depot or Lowes and Energy Star appliances are considered highly rated.
  3. Put a candle to it. Some experts say that drafts waste so much heat that it is like keeping a window open all winter! Light a candle or incense to identify where drafts are around windows, doors, under cabinets, around outlets & fixtures and then seal, caulk, insulate, and sit back to enjoy a lower heating bill this winter.
  4. Bulk up this winter. No, I do not mean join a gym but with this advice it may help offset that gym membership you may be considering. I mean buy things in bulk to glean the cost savings. Paper goods and dry goods are perfect to buy in bulk since they have a long shelf life. Buying in bulk will cut down on the time you spend driving to the store several times and time is a priceless commodity. Fewer trips to the store means using less gas, too.
  5. Be nice and share. Combine your bulk shopping with a friend, neighbor, or family member. You may not have storage for bulk items but between 2-3 people, you can split us the bulk and the cost savings can be had by all. The same goes for sharing big household jobs such as repaving a driveway, re-coating a roof, servicing the HVAC, landscaping, brick pointing etc... A contractor that you hire to do 3 jobs at once will be much more negotiable on their price. And if they do not offer a discount, go back to tip number 1.

It does not matter whether you are a home owner or a renter or whether you live in a small condo or a castle. If you pay bills, you want to find ways to save, not just get the impression that you are saving. Implementing some money saving strategies now can help ease the pinch of the economy. We hope one of these tips will help lower a bill or reserve a little extra cash to buffer "the illusion of a deal" you may be taking advantage of this Holiday Season.


OPEN HOUSE in Northern Liberties – Sunday, October 31st 1-3:30PM – 1037 N 3rd Street Great Opportunity to Own Northern Liberties 4BR Home at a Great Price!

OPEN HOUSE in Northern Liberties

Sunday, October 31st 1-3:30PM

1037 N 3rd Street


Photo Gallery

We welcome you to tour this large 3 Story brick front 4 bedroom home in Northern Liberties on Sunday, October 31st from 1-3:30PM where you will these great features:

  • Great Location close to all the charming shops at Liberties Walk
  • Open Layout
  • Hardwood Flooring
  • Kitchen with tile floors, appliances (included) and access to large rear yard
  • Full dry unfinished basement with plenty of storage and washer/dryer
  • 4 nice sized bedrooms
  • Updates that include:
  • Remodeled Hall Bath
  • New Windows throughout
  • Updated Central Air Conditioning

This home provides a great opportunity to get into the neighborhood in this location at this price point.

We look forward to seeing you at our Open House.

Discover more about Life in Northern Liberties


Remax Access, Northern Liberties


Fall Designer’s Tip: Go for the Glow!

Autumn is often seen as a time for reflection. During the fall months, people start thinking cozy and the nesting instinct kicks in. For those who want to make the usual décor changes to their home or add a seasonal touch for your  guests at Thanksgiving , here are several easy ideas to consider. If you're trying to sell your home during these colder months, the following tips can make your space seem warm and inviting.

Pump Up your Mantle with Pumpkins

Purchase  inexpensive little pumpkins or colorful gourds that can be placed all around the home, cascading down a stairwell or pitched in a row on top of fence posts surrounding the yard. Fall leaves come in a variety of beautiful shapes and colors. Bring them indoors! Prevent them from drying out by rubbing with a thin layer of moisturizer to preserve the color and texture. They can be used in a table centerpiece or along your Fireplace Mantle.

Create a Cozy Glow with Candles and Lanterns

Use white Pillar Candles of all different sizes to create a unique Candle Scape in the Fireplace, before it is too cold to light a fire. One idea is to use a knife or small melon scoop to hollow out the center of multiple mini-pumpkins (all the same color) and replace the centers with a small votive candle. Candles and tealights are inexpensive and can be found at Target and IKEA. Conversation between your holiday guests will flow more naturally with a dimmer, mysteriously lit space. Everybody looks best with a candlelight glow.

Lanterns are Subdued, Elegant, and Charming. They can be decorative or simple and can also be used to spice up Indoor or Outdoor spaces. They have fantastic “curb appeal” in the evening where it creates a warm, inviting glow that can light a walkway or steps leading into a home. Lanterns can decorate an outdoor deck, patio or walkway where flowers are dwindling. Lanterns can be purchased at local garden or home retail stores in your area.

This Design Tip is from Busybee Design. For more information on Busybee, visit their website and be sure to stop by the new Busybee Homestore and Design Center when it opens on November 12.


Busybee Design Prepares for South Street Landing


3 Bedroom Home for Sale in Parkwood, Philadelphia – Updated Condo in a Fabulous Community!

3 Bedroom Home for Sale in Parkwood, Philadelphia

Call The Somers 215-400-2620, RE/MAX Access, Northern Liberties, Philadelphia

13023 Townsend Road ~ Updated 3BR Condo in Parkwood

Welcome to this friendly community & fabulous 3 bedroom home for sale at Crofton Place in the Parkwood section of the Greater North East.

This condo has been updated throughout. There are some great features to enjoy: open living room, formal dining room, & a den with 1/2 bath off of the kitchen. The kitchen is brand new with ample cabinets, all appliances included (dishwasher, range, disposal, microwave), and plenty of counter space. There is a large private rear yard that can be accessed through the den.

Additional Features include:

  • Central air
  • Recessed lighting
  • Laminate wood flooring throughout the first floor

The 2nd level has a shared hall bath, clean and white, with new vanity & tub/shower. The master bedroom has 2 closets a walk-in and a side by side with slider doors. The 2nd and 3rd bedroom are bright with plush carpets throughout.

This 3 bedroom home for sale in Parkwood offers low condo fees & deeded parking. (This condo is not FHA approved.)

The Somers Team of Philadelphia


Remax Access, Northern Liberties


Ready for Another 12 Months in Northern Liberties?

You will be when you pick up your Northern Liberties 2011 Calendar, available soon at local shops, bars, and restaurants. The theme for 2011 is "That was Then & This is Now" with historic photographs of our neighborhood.

Proceeds will benefit the Northern Liberties Clean & Green program, which promotes environmentally sustainable practices throughout the community. Activities include: tree planting, Christmas tree chipping, composting and rain barrel workshops, e-waste recycling, weekly street sweeping, and educational workshops on solar power and environmental responsibility. Through Clean & Green the NLNA has planted a hundred new trees, distributed over 1000 recycling containers, and successfully advocated for bike racks and solar trash and recycling compactors throughout our neighborhood.


Condo Source: Waterfront Square Auction

We've talked before about Waterfront Square, some successful short sales we've had at the riverfront condominiums, and why we were concerned about the plummeting values that we were seeing there.

Now, is reporting that the 35 luxury condos are up for auction from $195,000 - $415,000, at price reductions of over 50%.  We have been noticing a few condo auctions this year, but this one is particularly interesting because of the condo's proximity to the new SugarHouse Casino, which we wrote about earlier today.  The story mentions that the opening of SugarHouse has been seen as a plus for Waterfront's current residents, as it has brought development to the area.

The auction is scheduled for  Sunday, Nov. 21, at 4 pm, at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn's Landing, 201 S. Columbus Blvd. There will be an Open House Preview through Nov. 20.


Philadelphia Short Sales – Another Successful Short Sale in Waterfront Square !

Condo Source: Waterfront Square

Meet Your Neighbors: Borrowing a Cup of Sugar


Meet Your Neighbors: Borrowing a Cup of Sugar

Our of our newest neighbors is bringing new meaning to "Borrowing a cup of sugar" from the house next door.

The SugarHouse Casino. Not what you would expect us to write about in our "Meet Your Neighbors" spot of our newsletter, huh? Well, this neighbor quite literally sits on one of the sweetest pieces of Real Estate in Philadelphia. They are located on the rivers edge overlooking the Ben Franklin Bridge to the South and the winding Delaware River bank from the North. SugarHouse's waterfront view were held hostage for decades by an unmanaged, pollution ravaged, and ignored site that was once the location of a long forgotten sugar refinery in use from 1881-1984.

Ironically the news that SugarHouse was moving to the neighborhood was not so sweet, at least not according to the neighbors, community associations, and Casino-Free Philadelphia members who feared the worst would happen if a casino took up residence at the old refinery site. For the people who live in the riverside communities such as Old City, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, and Port Richmond, we had been looking at the SugarHouse site for the past couple of years with mixed emotions. Our SugarHouse neighbor was under a significant amount of scrutiny from the City of Brotherly Love.

With the many proposals, the city red tape, and countless protests behind them, the SugarHouse Casino opened their doors in October welcoming the community with open arms even though they were not overwhelmingly supported. We stopped by to check out the new neighbor. We thought we'd ask to "borrow a cup of sugar".  Since our office and home is a stone's throw from the casino, we drive by often only to report that the parking lot seems to be filled with plenty of cars and people enjoying the entertainment being offered.

* 45,000 square feet of gaming floor
* A mix of the newest slot machines
* Live table games, including:
o Blackjack
o Craps
o Roulette
o Mini Baccarat
o Pai Gow Poker
o Three-card Poker
o Four-card Poker
3 Restaurants

So, has everyone shaken hands and made amends with the casino? Well, not exactly. The community still launches negative comments about what the future holds for Philadelphia and criticism has been heard on the streets about everything from being a lackluster architectural specimen to failing to cater to a high end audience. The positive comments are from those that love gaming as a form of entertainment and from those that simply see SugarHouse as a riverfront pioneer with the revenue to build a walkway and bike path behind the casino that provides public access to the long forgotten majestic Delaware River. Perhaps The SugarHouse Casino development can be the catalyst that will really sweeten up Philadelphia's most neglected feature.

We hope you enjoy our pictorial introduction of our featured neighbor. If you have not visited, we recommend it. Even if you do not gamble, you can make SugarHouse one stop as you tour Northern Liberties, Liberties Walk, and visit us The Somers at our office at 1033 N 2nd Street, 5th Floor of the oval shaped building in the Piazza.


A Riverside Retreat at…SugarHouse Casino

[image of Sugar Refinery via]


Halloween Fest & New Classes at the Fairmount Art Center

Just in from the Fairmount Art Center...there's more to do this Halloween than get scared out of your mind at the Eastern State Penitentiary. Here's something a little more kid-friendly.

Halloween Arts Fest

The 4th Annual! Join us October 31 from11:30am-1:30pm. Come in costume, craft, create, and creep!

Fall Session II: Starts the week of November 1st
School-Closed Camps: Oct. 29-Nov. 5 & beyond
Friday Night Workshops: Upcoming-Papermaking, Collage, & Book Arts

Classes fill fast so be sure to reserve your spot!
Click for details & online registration!

Fairmount Art Center
2501 Olive Street


New Construction in Fishtown: Meet the Builders Tour this December!

When there's a chill in the air...Let us invite you to come inside for our December Meet the Builders Tour in Fishtown.

We'll officially announce the date of December's Tour soon, but until then, we can only promise that we are hard at work on what will be our best tour yet! Not only will we be touring the latest new construction in Fishtown, we'll also get a taste of what the neighborhood is known for: fine beer.

Who should attend?

  • Rehabbers and Investors looking for tips
  • Those who want to get to know the area
  • Buyers looking for more information
  • Curious consumers that want to be in the know

If you can't wait that long, we've got a sneak peek opportunity for you. Remax Access will be hosting a Broker's Open on November 4 at 2568 and 2570 Collins St., our 2 New Construction Homes in the Fishtown/East Kensington neighborhood. A complimentary lunch will be provided. Please contact the Somers Team if you would like to attend.

We hope to see you!


Ghostbusters in Philly…Who Ya Gonna Call?

We'll admit it. When Halloween comes around, showing houses has an added element of suspense and mystery to us. Especially in the older homes, where we wonder who has come before us.

The SPIRT of PA (The Southeast Paranormal Investigation and Research Team of Pennsylvania) has a list of Public Investigations and Private Residences on their website, all located in the Pennsylvania area.

If you dare, try listening to some of the recordings at Fort Mifflin and Geddes Piper House. They are downright eerie. The Eastern State Penitentiary is probably the scariest supposedly haunted site we can think of in Philadelphia.

The thought of paranormal activity, whether you find it fun, creepy, or absurd, is something that strikes us all at one point or another. Have you had any ghostly experiences or been in any haunted houses?


Haunted Houses, Thirsty Vampires, Wild Beasts…Just in Time for October!


Phone: 215.253.6818