RE/MAX 440
Susan Langenstein
423 North Main Street
Doylestown  PA 18901
 Phone: 267-446-6201
Office Phone: 215-348-7100
Toll Free: 800-360-7100
Cell: 267-446-6201
Fax: 267-354-6816
Susan Langenstein

My Blog

Just How Cyber Smart Are You?

February 27, 2018 12:54 am

Massive data breaches like Equifax and Yahoo served as important wake-up calls to remind us that cybersecurity should be at the top of everyone’s priority list. But unfortunately, that’s not the case.

According to a survey of 2,000 U.S. home users by cybersecurity firm Webroot, while digital users of all ages have certain security practices down, there are still gaps in awareness, especially when it comes to ransomware.

Despite the growing prevalence of ransomware attacks in news headlines, nearly two thirds (61.6 percent) of survey respondents could not accurately define ransomware. In a ransomware attack, hackers encrypt or lock consumers' files to extort payment. Unless the victim pays the ransom, their files may be gone forever; however, there is no guarantee that payment will actually buy back their files.

Here’s how survey results—and cybersecurity savvy—breaks down by generation. See how you rate:

Gen Z (18 - 24)

- This group was the least ransomware-savvy. Less than a quarter (23.7 percent) were able to accurately define ransomware.

- Although antivirus offers strong protection against ransomware, members of Gen Z are likely to report they either don't use antivirus protection (33 percent), or don't know if they have any installed (23.8 percent).

- This same group is the most willing to pay a hacker to return stolen data; 25.1 percent reported they would pay a hacker up to $500 to return stolen data.

- Thirty-six percent of Gen Zers who reported they have clicked a link in an email or text from an unknown sender have also been a victim of a ransomware attack or know someone who has.

Millennials (25 - 34)

- While more savvy than their younger counterparts, only a third (34.2 percent) of millennials could accurately define ransomware.

- Nearly a third (28.9 percent) of survey respondents who were most concerned about losing personal photos in a cyberattack were millennials.

- Over 60 percent of millennials share their personal information online via mobile banking and bill pay, tax, financial and health care forms, or by shopping online. This makes them more vulnerable to data breaches of all types, underscoring the need for cybersecurity knowledge.

Baby Boomers (55 - 65+)

- While only half (47.6 percent) of baby boomers could accurately define ransomware, this was still the highest of any generation.

- Respondents 55 and older might be the most unsafe online, as they are most likely to admit to having received suspicious texts or emails (73.3 percent), or having clicked links in emails/texts from unknown senders (26.9 percent).

- Despite the risks they face, baby boomers are the savviest when it comes to not forwarding emails from unknown senders; 94.2 percent said they had not done so in the past year.

No matter what your age, make sure you’re up to speed on the latest in cyber security.

Source: Webroot

Published with permission from RISMedia.


3 Keys to Becoming an Elite Athlete

February 27, 2018 12:54 am

(Family Features)--When it comes to becoming an elite athlete, there are differing opinions on what it takes to win gold.

Sports analysts and commentators often reference sprint times, body weight, height or age as differentiating factors, but Dr. Steven Stein, CEO of Multi-Health Systems and emotional intelligence expert, has a different idea.

Emotional intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that influence the way people perceive and express themselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way.

Using The Emotional Quotient Inventory 2.0 model to test emotional intelligence, Multi-Health Systems found athletes around the world often score high in self-regard: the ability to know their strengths and weaknesses; self-actualization: doing what they love and continually trying to improve; and flexibility: their ability to learn, change and take direction.


Self-regard is an athlete's ability to know his or her strengths and weaknesses. For elite athletes, it can also translate into confidence.

"Confidence, as part of self-regard, can be a key differentiator among medal winners," Stein says. "At the highest level of many sports you have a number of athletes with near-equal skills and talent. Often, having the right mental toughness can make that millisecond or single point difference among judges."


Self-actualization reflects comfort with who you are and what you are doing. For example, competition at the international level takes years of preparation and practice, and may require personal, social and familial sacrifices.

"Self-actualization allows an athlete to continue to learn and improve, as many athletes start out with a vision that helps define their passion," Stein says. "For example, you frequently hear stories of athletes who come from challenging childhoods—deaths of parents, early injuries or difficulties with school—who commit fully to their sports, find success and go on to become role models for others in both athletics and overcoming adversity."


Flexibility is a person's ability to change and take direction, and for an elite athlete, it means learning from a bad performance instead of getting frustrated. It is one of the better predictors of the ability to be coached and succeed, and Multi-Health Systems found that it is especially important in both professional and amateur athletes.

"Sometimes, high-level draft picks in various sports who have difficulty taking instruction don't make it as professional players," Stein says. "Great athletes are often great learners, and when athletes think they already know what's best or don't listen to coaching, it can derail their performance."

Source: Multi-Health Systems

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Improve Your Indoor Air Quality for Spring

February 27, 2018 12:54 am

As the season changes, your environment shifts, both indoors and out. A switch of seasons is the perfect time to focus on freshening the air in your home. T. Webber offers the following tips to maintain great indoor air quality as you prep for spring.

Use allergen-rated filters. Besides making sure that your air filters are changed on an appropriate schedule, using a high-quality filter rated for allergen filtration will help clean the air as it cycles. Regular filters are designed to protect the heating and cooling system by trapping larger particles such as dust before they reach the unit. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters will trap much smaller particles and keep offending allergens from simply recirculating back into the living space.

Consider an air cleaner. If those living in the home are experiencing severe negative health effects from invasive allergens, using an air cleaner in conjunction with HEPA air filters for the HVAC unit will dramatically increase the effectiveness of overall indoor air filtration. Air cleaners are specifically designed to remove mold, mildew, dust, pollen and pet dander from the air inside the home.

Install ultraviolet lamps. Ultraviolet lamps can be installed inside the heating and cooling unit to kill mold and bacteria that may develop on and around the coil due to moisture, and there are also lamps available that can sterilize the moving air. These lamps are effective at killing germs that may otherwise recirculate through the home.

Make sure the home is properly ventilated. Bathrooms and kitchens are both major contributors to the humidity of the home, and they need to be properly vented. Check exhaust vents to make sure they are free of obstruction and working properly so that excess moisture and pollutants can be removed.

Utilize a dehumidifier. After the winter passes, most humidifiers are placed in storage until the dryer months of summer arrive. Using a dehumidifier in its place will maintain a balanced indoor environment by removing excess moisture from the air, which will help to prevent issues such as the development of mold and mildew.

Source: T. Webber

Published with permission from RISMedia.


5 Ways to Spring Forward

February 27, 2018 12:54 am

Whether you like it or not, if you live in an area of the country that follows Daylight Savings Time, you're about to spring forward—and lose an hour of sleep. Here are five ways to ease that transition.

Go to sleep earlier. If you head to bed an hour earlier, you won't lose that hour of sleep. Start a few days before the timehop for best results. First, hop in fifteen minutes earlier. Then aim for a half hour. Then forty-five minutes. By the time you're heading to bed an hour earlier, your body will be well adjusted.  

Find the sunlight. The day before the time switch, expose yourself to some natural sunlight to give you an energy boost and avoid feeling groggy the following day. Take a walk, read a book in the park or simply sit outside and call a friend.

Avoid a large, late dinner. When trying to moderate your sleep schedule, avoid a heavy meal before bed, as it can disrupt sleep. Instead, try and eat earlier and then have a small snack an hour or so before hitting the sheets.

Moderate caffeine. Even if you're feeling that 4:00 p.m. slump, try to avoid caffeine past 2:00 p.m. leading up to Daylight Savings Time. Consuming caffeine late in the day can throw off your natural rhythm even further than the time switch.

Create an environment for sleep. Make sure your bedroom promotes deep sleep by nixing electronics (no TV in bed for you!), keeping your space quiet and clutter-free, and adjusting the temperature to one ideal for sleep: between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Busting Myths About Electric Heat Pumps

February 23, 2018 12:48 am

(Family Features)--Like any technology, ductless heat pumps need to be used properly, and under the right conditions, in order to achieve maximum value. Learn how to get the most benefit from a ductless heat pump by debunking four of the biggest misconceptions about these devices.

Myth: They are more expensive to run than oil or gas heaters.
Fact: Multiple studies show that electric heat pumps save between $1,000-2,000 annually in energy costs, depending on the system's efficiency, condition of the original equipment and climatic region.

Myth: They collect and distribute bacteria.
Fact: All split-ductless heat pumps have filters to gather and capture bacteria before it has a chance to grow. In fact, many indoor units include anti-allergy enzyme filters designed to reduce germs, bacteria and viruses in the space.

Myth: They are only suitable for new construction.
Fact: Ductless and hybrid (short duct run) heat pumps can provide superior efficiency levels and improved comfort in all homes, new and old.

Myth: They don't work in cold climates.
Fact: Some systems, such as those offered by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating, offer a Hyper-Heat boost for especially cold climates. These systems deliver 100-percent heating capacity at 5°F outdoor ambient temperature and offer performance down to -13°F outdoor ambient temperature.

Source: Mitsubishi

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Retiring? Think Beyond the Beach

February 23, 2018 12:48 am

Starting to think about where your post-career phase of life might take you? Well if golf courses and beach communities are not what come to mind when you think about retirement, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

With about 4 million baby boomers retiring each year, it’s no surprise that the location options are expanding. While warm weather states such as Florida, Arizona, Texas and Georgia are still top choices, more and more of today’s retirees are opting for hardier climates - with states like Colorado, Pennsylvania and Maine making Forbes 2017 list of best places to retire.

Also growing in popularity are urban locations, with many choosing to stay in place or downsize to urban centers. Cities offer high walkability scores, boundless options for entertainment and culture, and quick access to transportation and quality healthcare.

If city life is your option for retirement, do your research and talk to local real estate professionals to rate any city you’re considering on the following factors suggested by the Milken Institute:

- Affordability
- Safety
- Convenience
- Aging-friendly housing options
- Access and safety of public transportation
- Community engagement
- Cultural offerings

Of course, pedestrian-friendly streets and a strong local economy are important as well. Remember, city life can be within your reach, no matter what your age.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Take Ladder Safety to New Heights

February 23, 2018 12:48 am

While a necessity for any homeowner, ladders can present a myriad of hazards when not used properly. In fact, according to a recent study from the American Ladder Institute (ALI), the two most cited causes of ladder accidents were missing the last step and overarching, followed closely by failure to use three points of contact and simply using the wrong type ladder for the job at hand.

The good news is these accidents and others can be easily prevented with some common-sense caution. ALI recommends doing the following to “step-up” ladder safety:

- Make sure you’re using the right type of ladder for the job. Choosing one that’s too tall or too short can set the stage for an accident.

- Make sure that the ladder is set up correctly. Make sure the ground underneath the ladder is firm and level.

- Be sure to carefully inspect the ladder you’re using for damage or wear and tear. Clean the climbing and gripping surfaces if they haven’t been used in a while.

- Likewise, make sure the soles of your shoes are clean to avoid slipping on the ladder.

- Don’t use ladders in bad weather - this just increases the odds of an accident.

- If you’re feeling under the weather or at all prone to dizziness or balance issues, leave the ladder duties to someone else, or hire a professional.

- Use towlines, a tool belt or an assistant to help pass materials so that your hands are free when climbing.

- While on the ladder, make sure you’re always maintaining three points of contact.

With these few simple, but critical, precautions, you can get a variety of DIY jobs done around the house safely.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Selling Your Home? Attack Issues Head-on

February 22, 2018 12:42 am

You’ve finally made the decision to put your home on the market - now comes the tough part: making sure it’s ready for prospective buyers.

According to Buddy Stark, director of operations for HomeTeam Inspection Service, there are several steps home sellers should take before beginning the selling process and having a home inspection. Here’s what he recommends:

Clean the house. This may seem like an obvious one, but you must keep your home at a heightened level of clean on an ongoing basis in anticipation of a showing. An ultra-clean home will convey that it's been well cared for and that the house is less susceptible to any issues caused by neglect.

Check all windows. Take a quick inventory of your windows to make sure they're in good working order. Replace windows that are cracked or broken before the inspection to save time during the selling process.

Finish the “honey-do” list. You might not think that certain areas of your home have anything to do with your home’s appeal, but they will come up as safety concerns on a home inspection report. Replace burnt-out lightbulbs, test smoke detectors, replace air filters and unclog drains. These little things are easy to forget in day-to-day life, but taking care of them is a relatively easy task that will help potential buyers focus on the important systems of the home.

Check all outlets. A sampling of electrical outlets will be tested as part of the home inspection to make sure they're in good working order. Take note of which outlets are not functioning in the home and replace them. Or consider hiring an electrician to make sure both outlets and the electrical box are updated and in proper working condition.

Clear areas for easy access. Home inspectors will be looking at the major parts of the home, including the foundation, HVAC systems, electrical systems, plumbing and even the water heater. Making sure home inspectors can easily access these areas, including the basement and attic, will save time during the inspection process.

Consider a pre-listing inspection. Having an inspection conducted before the selling process, will allow you to take care of issues that may arise later, clearing the way for a smooth - and speedy - sale.

Source: HomeTeam Inspection

Published with permission from RISMedia.


4 Bedroom Upgrades that Won't Break the Bank

February 22, 2018 12:42 am

(Family Features)--Upgrading your bedroom might sound like a daunting task. You may assume it costs an arm and a leg, takes months and requires professionals to complete. However, upgrading your bedroom doesn't have to mean breaking the bank, or your back. Investing in a few quality upgrades to some bedroom essentials can make your life less stressful and more cost- and energy-effective.

Whether you've moved to a new space, or just want a fresh look and feel, these are four unique, functional additions you can make to your bedroom.

Smart Lighting
Lighting makes the difference between a cozy, inviting escape and a cold, fluorescently lit room. You can upgrade your traditional bedroom with high-tech, smart lightbulbs, which can save you money in the long-run due to their energy efficiency. These lightbulbs are often dimmable, feature Wi-Fi capability and can be controlled from a central hub, like your phone, via manufacturer or third-party apps.

Adjustable Base
An adjustable base can help take your sleep to new heights. Today, adjustable bases come in a variety of designs and sizes, and are usually discrete and sturdy. If you suffer from neck pain or back pain, sleeping in a reclined position in an adjustable bed can help decrease the pressure on your spine by creating an angle between your thighs and trunk, according to Healthline. Bases are easily customizable, usually via remote, so you can find your favorite bed position, whether you're sleeping, reading or lounging.  

Blackout Curtains
The right curtains can help pull together the look of a room, change the perceived size, impact the lighting, reduce noise and even help with temperature control, especially if you have older windows. There are a variety of size and color options to choose from at different price points, so you can spend less time adjusting your thermostat and more time enjoying your sleep space.

Self-Adhesive Wallpaper
Self-adhesive wallpaper is one way to upgrade your entire bedroom. There are trendy, customizable options available that are easy to install. The right wall color can bring together the aesthetic of a room, and peel-and-stick wallpaper can provide it without the mess and fumes of traditional wall paint. Self-adhesive wallpaper can be applied to any flat surface, so you're not just limited to walls, and if you change your mind, it's removable and residue-free.

Remember, you don't have to rush and upgrade your entire bedroom all at one time. To ensure you're getting the best value, look for deals on specific items throughout the year and rely on retailers such as Mattress Firm that can help stretch your budget, offering you more for less.

Source: Mattress Firm

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Cookware Gets Healthy

February 20, 2018 12:36 am

Americans’ growing focus on fitness and nutrition has found its way into our kitchens - not just in terms of the food in the fridge, but the cookware on our counters and stoves as well. Consider some of these items to get your kitchen tools on point with your health goals:

Kombucha maker. At this year’s Atlanta Gift and Home Furnishings Market, Typhoon Homewares introduced a line of fermentation and kombucha-making sets under its Kilner brand. Known for its high levels of probiotics, antioxidants and vitamins, Kombucha is a fermented tea that has become increasingly popular among the health-conscious. This line now allows you to make it at home as opposed to paying the high prices often found in stores.

Rice cookers. From all varieties of pressure cookers - including the latest sensation, the InstaPot - to simple rice cookers, these handy counter-top gadgets allow you to quickly cook all varieties of rice and grains, including super nutritious quinoa and couscous.

Green and copper pans. The eco-friendly GreenPan or increasingly popular copper pans offer the benefit of non-stick surfaces, which means you can cook without fats, like oils and butters. To preserve these pans, use only wooden or plastic utensils. Metal will scratch and ruin the non-stick surface, essential to avoiding those unhealthy fats.

Herb and veggie preservers. Our best efforts at using more fresh herbs and vegetables often go to waste as these items go bad before we can finish them. There are several inexpensive gadgets that help preserve fresh herbs and veggies longer, however, such as Food Huggers that fit snuggly over those half cut fruits and vegetables.

Blenders, big and small. Whether you go all out with a Vitamix, or keep it simple with a NutriBullet, it’s easy these days to make a quick, nutrient-dense smoothie, soup or dip. There’s something to fit everyone’s kitchen and budget.

Published with permission from RISMedia.