At Home in Berks August 2013

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Home Builders Association of Berks County



How Government Regulation & Taxation Has Stopped the Economy


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Home Bu ilders As sociation of Berks County AUGUST 2013






What Ke Busine eps Our Awake ss Leaders at Nigh t? PERSIS TE INSPEC NT TI PROBLE ON WEST MS IN READIN G

How G Regulaovernment Taxatiotion & Stoppedn Has Econom the y

5 Congress...Enough Tinkering Already!

As if they haven’t done enough harm already, Congress and the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. are now considering the elimination of the Mortgage Interest Deduction.


What Keeps You Awake at Night? The Chamber recently conducted a Member Survey which asked this question – What keeps you up at night? Member’s written responses fell into these top five buckets...

14 Home Ownership &

Politics: What’s at Stake?

For generations of Americans, owning your home meant owning your future and building a sense of stability, pride, and accomplishment. Even with the economic turmoil of the past few years, Americans remain committed to the American Dream of home ownership.

17 Changes to Home Ownership Harm Seniors

For many Americans, getting married, buying a home, having children and providing them with an education, then being able to retire comfortably without financial worries is the embodiment of their American Dream.

18 Why to Buy... Buying a home is arguably the most significant business investment that most people will have ever undertaken in their lives. Mortgage rates are near their lowest levels in more than half a century.

MONEY Angles 11 HVAC System

Maintenance Checklist Proper maintenance and care of your HVAC equipment helps to eliminate costly repairs and high energy usage.

20 Persistent Inspection Problems in West Reading...

Most municipalities don’t understand that these programs aren’t treating all properties the same.

22 Roofing and Siding:

Needs versus Wants of Homeownership When was the last time you thought about your roof? How about the colors of your siding? One you may take for granted. The other is on your mind often.


28 2

From the President

HBA of Berks County President Cathy Sloan.

Membership pages New and returning members, member to member discount programs, and an overview of all Association-related events from August to October 2013.

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2013 HBA Berks

Board of Directors

From the President

Officers: President Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP Aluminum Associates/Sloan Corporation

First Vice President

The American Dream?

Patrick Dolan

Dolan Construction, Inc. (Reading)

Second Vice President Ed Anewalt Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting (Bernville)

Secretary Chad Camburn, P.E. Bursich Associates, Inc. (Pottstown)

Treasurer John Schmoyer Fulton Mortgage Company (Wyomissing)

Americans still seem to remain committed to the American Dream of home ownership no matter what the economic turmoil has brought over the past few years. Politicians are seeking to reduce the deficit by reducing or eliminating government incentives to own a home. But, if they have any doubt, the Dream is still alive.

Immediate Past President Kevin Kozo, CGP Turnberry Custom Homes (West Reading)

Builder/Remodeler Directors Daphne Frownfelter, CKD Deer Mountain Kitchens (Robesonia) Diane Salks

Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. (Temple)

Brad Kehres

L A Kehres Building & Remodeling (Leesport)

Eric Keller

Berks Fire & Water Restorations, Inc. (Reading)

Bryan Moll

B & G Glass (Reading)

Associate Directors Jim Gavin

Masano Bradley Attorneys At Law (Wyomissing)

Sherrie Hallowell

VIST Bank (Wyomissing)

Bruce Rader, P.E., P.L.S.

Berks Surveying & Engineering Inc. (Fleetwood)

HBA Staff Executive Officer & At Home in Berks Editor-in-Chief Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM

Membership Coordinator/ Office Manager Katie Mauger


ome ownership. It is still the “American Dream?” In good times or bad, there is one constant: Home ownership remains the American Dream for millions of American families. And, there are many reasons why, both economic and emotional.

Most Americans consider home ownership to be their single best long-term investment and a primary source of their wealth and financial security. Generations of families have counted on, and used, the equity in their homes for their children’s education, their own retirement, and other milestone expenses.

Individual household budgets are helped by tax incentives that are designed to make owning a home more affordable. Deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes can result in thousands of dollars of tax savings, especially in the early years of the mortgage when interest makes up most of the payment. Home owners save nearly $100 billion annually on mortgage interest and property deductions alone.

And, when home owners sell their primary residence, they get an enormous tax break. A couple who owns and lives in their home for two years and then decides to sell can keep up to $500,000 of the profit tax-free, and a single owner can keep $250,000. A healthy housing industry means more jobs and a stronger U.S. economy. In fact, fully 15 percent of the U.S. economy relies on housing.

Continued on page 4 The written and visual contents of this magazine are protected by copyright. Reproduction of print or digital articles without written permission from Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc., and/or the Home Builders Association of Berks County is forbidden. The placement of paid advertisements does not imply endorsement by HBA of Berks County. Publisher: Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. I 610.685.0914 2921 Windmill Road, Suite 4, Sinking Spring, PA 19608 Dave Hessen, Director of Creative Operations august 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs


From the President


Most of the products used in home construction and remodeling are manufactured in the United States. Constructing 100 new homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs, $23.1 million in wage and business income and $8.9 million in federal, state, and local tax revenue. New home owners spend money on decorations & furnishings to enhance the landscaping and to become members of the community by patronizing local businesses & service providers.

a Home

Yet, a home is so much more than an investment. In good times and in bad, the opportunity to own a home has been a cherished ideal and a source of pride, accomplishment, social stability, and peace of mind.

Finishing Touches At Anewalt’s, we specialize in giving homeowners the finishing touches…the patio, the deck, the lighting, the ambience, gently balancing nature and function.

Home ownership strengthens communities as well as families.

We listen attentively to you to be sure the landscape complements the aesthetics of your home and the desires of your heart.

Home building increases the property tax base that supports local schools and communities. When a family owns their home, it is an asset that has a direct impact on their financial security and future. People are more likely to take care of things they own so they remain valuable. And, a home’s value is determined by how well it is maintained, as well as, by the condition of the neighborhood it is located in. So, home owners have incentive to spend their time and resources improving their neighborhood, even if it is just to protect the value of their own investment.

It is important to note that despite the fact that housing and home ownership policies over the last century have contributed to the growth of the middle class and helped the United States become the most dynamic economy the world has ever seen, home ownership is under attack. Policymakers are proposing radical changes, including ending the mortgage interest deduction and mandating minimum 20 percent down-payments,


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Home ownership builds stronger communities, provides a solid foundation for family & personal achievement, and improves the quality of life for millions of people. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission has said that home ownership can “produce powerful economic, social, and civic benefits that serve the individual home owner, the larger community and the nation.”

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that would threaten the dream of home ownership for millions of Americans. The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) website, www., has more information about the threats to home ownership and how to take action to protect it.

Restoring the flow of credit to qualified home buyers would help to boost the housing market, help put Americans back to work, and strengthen the economic

health of communities across the country. You can join the fight to keep the value of home ownership. Let’s keep the Dream alive.

Cathy Sloan Cathy Sloan, CRG, CAPS, CGP Aluminum Associates/Sloan Corp. 2013 HBA President




As if they haven’t done enough harm already, Congress and the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. are now considering the elimination of the Mortgage Interest Deduction. Why can’t they understand that they do not need more taxes from us, or “income” as they are now calling it (as if that will fool us)? They need to STOP SPENDING!

Congress Started the Housing Collapse The Mortgage Bubble, also known as the Subprime Loan Crisis, was caused by Congress. They made laws and policies that forced banks to give loans to undeserving borrowers. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), for example, compelled banks to relax their underwriting practices in favor of more “flexible” criteria. This allowed would-be buyers and borrowers to get a bigger loan than they could every pay back, especially, when many of the buyers shouldn’t have received a loan at all.

Although Congress may have had good intentions, they never seem to think through the ramifications of their actions. But, then, Congress isn’t well known for

“thinking” after all. They preached from their mountain on high, that the CRA would allow low income buyers to afford their first home, which would open home ownership to millions of more Americans. What really happened was a race to the bottom. Banks and mortgage lenders lowered their mortgage rates and gave riskier loans than the lender across the street, or across town, to attract customers in order to meet their Congress-mandated quotas. When the lender across the street realized they were no longer competitive and were not meeting their Congress-mandated quotas, they were forced to do something or else be forced out of business by the government. So, they lowered their rates and gave out even more risky loans. Back and forth it went until rates were being offered below the prime rate (the rate at

which banks borrow from other banks or the Federal Reserve); thus, they were offering “subprime loans.”

Every Action has an Equal and Opposite... Like a bad horror movie, it was easy to ‘see’ the scary monster coming. Since loans had been given to those who could not afford them who also had a previously terrible credit history (meaning: they don’t pay their debts), the next domino to fall was obvious...they didn’t pay their debts. The house of cards began to inevitably fall as more and more new homeowners found themselves underwater and either stopped trying to make good on their obligations or just simply couldn’t pay. Foreclosure was the next step as the Continued on page 6 august 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs



congress: enough tinkering already!

lenders began to take back the property which secured their now-unpaid loan. As this course of action became more and more frequent, the foreclosure market grew.

Lenders are not in the landlord, property management, or real estate business. They are in the lending business. They do not want to own property! Therefore, they unloaded it at the best possible price as fast as possible to salvage whatever cash they possibly could out of the deal-gonebad; so, they could use the cash for what they did best – lending to borrowers. Thus, lenders sold property fast and cheap. With more foreclosures came more cheap sales.

Foreclosures are present in every market, in good times and in bad. A few here or there do not make a difference; thousands upon thousands of them do. Housing prices began to fall as regular homeowners who wanted to sell in the normal course of their lives had to lower their prices to be competitive with all of the foreclosures around town. The downward spiral of price depression began and built steam quickly.

The Next Crisis Next, all of the borrowers who had Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs), interest-only loans, or 5-year loans with balloon payments were the next to fall. As interest rates began to rise, and monthly payments increased, or their balloon payment became due, they were in hot water. They did not have a pile of money to pay off the loans. It was all spent.


AT HOME IN BERKs august 2013

These borrowers were counting on low interest rates and getting another loan when the current one came due. They would use a new loan to pay off the old loan and keep prodding along. But, as it came time to refinance their loans, the property would not appraise and interest rates were too high. The house was now worth less than they owed. A whole new group of homeowners, who had made terrible decisions which were forced upon the bankers by the policies and laws of Congress, began to falter. A myriad of additional foreclosures followed.

Congress Completed the Housing Collapse Not to be outdone by their own previous harmful decisions, Congress rushed to action with a one-two-three combination of punches followed by a knock-out to the economy. One. They forced governmentsponsored enterprises, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to purchase CRA loans as part of their “affordable housing goals.” Thus, these pseudo-government agencies were now buying bad loans. Two. Congress then mandated that subprime and near-prime loans also be purchased. Thus, the agencies were now buying the worst-of-the-worst loans. Three. Congress poured money into the agencies to afford it all, raised taxes, and increased the national debt four-fold. Thus, the economy as a whole was now adversely affected.

The Knock-Out Punch While all this was going on in government, there was still a large private market for these loans which would be bundled together in packages of many, many loans and sold as “derivatives” on the derivative market. As you might expect, some of these bundles began to fail as, eventually, did the companies with large holdings in derivatives. Congress could not have that! Such companies were their biggest campaign donors and offered them jobs and speaking engagements after they left Congress...making these such companies TOO BIG TO FAIL. As Congress dumped taxpayers’ hardearned cash in with the sewage of bad markets filled with bad companies who had bought bad loans taken out by bad borrowers who were allowed to borrow due to bad decisions of Congress, the housing collapse was complete and the economy was in the toilet.

So, Now What? Congress is once again tinkering. They will tell you that they will fix it. Government is the answer. YOU do not NEED the money. GOVERNMENT does. They will raise your taxes to produce more ‘income’ for them to spend. This time, instead of raising the tax rate, they will lower the deductions. It is all just the sleight-of-hand of a bad magician. They think we do not see them. They think I 610.777.8889

congress: enough tinkering already! we are stupid. In the end, their tinkering always means less for us and more for them.

As they consider eliminating or decreasing the mortgage interest deduction, they will try to convince us it is the ONLY course of action left to reduce the federal deficit. This poppycock will spew from their mouths with supposed passion and heartfelt emotion. They will pull on our heartstrings – aren’t we patriotic Americans? Don’t we want the deficit to be paid down? All along

It Affects YOU! Claims that the mortgage interest deduction benefits only wealthy taxpayers and that only a small number of home owners utilize the deduction are blatantly false! If you have a home mortgage, you now get the deduction. Meaning, you pay less taxes. In reality, 70 percent of home ownership tax benefits go to middleclass home owners who earn less than $200,000. And, out of 75 million home owners, 35 million claimed the mortgage interest deduction in 2009. This doesn’t

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they had no intention of paying down anything. They will spend more, give more to their cronies, and pay off their campaign donors. Most of it will be legal, because they make the laws. They decide what is legal and what is not. We will all suffer, especially the younger, middle-class families who would see their long-term financial prospects significantly and negatively affected. Tinkering with the mortgage interest deduction would depress home prices further, causing more home owners to be underwater, spur more foreclosures, and act as a further drag on the housing and economic recovery. Sound familiar? Millions of existing home owners who are struggling to make ends meet, but still manage to stay current with their mortgage payments would face a big tax increase they cannot afford.

even take into account the millions of taxpayers who are renters and one day aspire to own a home of their own. Or the roughly 25 million who now own their homes free and clear, but have used the deduction in the past.

Congress has an unusual talent of destroying markets, ruining companies, and making life harder. It is often said that the only thing governments do well are “kill people and break things.” That has certainly been the case with all of their recent tinkering in housing and the economy. Congress...stay out of our homes, out of housing, and away from mortgages. Haven’t you done enough bad already? We can fix it. We’ll fix it all. Just stop tinkering and let us.



Group: HBA Berks

Channel: HBAberks

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM is the Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Berks County. He provides insight on construction issues, business operations, marketing, personal finance, and occasionally, on political philosophy/history. Contact Christian at the HBA of Berks County office: or to receive notice of the newest articles written by Christian, follow him on Twitter @CDMalesic.

august 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs



WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT? What Troubles Local Businesses the Most? By Ellen T. Horan


he Chamber recently conducted a Member Survey which asked this question – What keeps you up at night? Member’s written responses fell into these top five buckets: Business issues and growth Government related issues Workforce/Education/Leadership Development Healthcare/Obamacare Time Management/Job Stress


AT HOME IN BERKs august 2013

A majority of Chamber members have 10 or fewer employees so many of the survey responders were small business owners. They are obviously worried about the success of the business because it is their family’s livelihood. They are also very cognizant of the fact that the business success also holds the sustainability of other families’ welfare as they add employees.

Stressed Out The fifth highest response, not enough time in the day and job stress, is the result of businesses running lean and mean. There is not an organization or business that I am aware of that feels they are

fully or optimally staffed. Everyone has been asked to do more with less which understandably adds to our stress.

Who’s Job Is It? I see the first four responses as integrally linked. The lack of uncertainty that the public sector brings coupled with a lack of confidence in the talent pipeline have business owners and managers very apprehensive about their ability to grow their business. That is why trade associations like the Home Builders Association and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry spend so much time on advocacy. Making a difference in the political or legislative process is too I 610.777.8889

WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT daunting a task for a business person to take on and expect to make a difference by themselves. Same with building a workforce pipeline...that’s the educator’s job isn’t it?

You Can’t Get There From Here Transportation Funding has long been a Chamber priority. As we were researching the formation of the Chamber for our 100th Anniversary this year, we saw transportation improvements listed as one of their founding missions. Back then, business leaders were more concerned about the Schuylkill River navigability and the Railroad being developed to promote commerce. Today, our number one transportation priority is 222 North. While we would ideally like a limited access highway, there just isn’t enough dollars to get that done in the foreseeable future. We can, though, get it widened to four lanes. (It will look more like 422 Eastbound than 222 South). Intersection Improvement at Long Lane (Maxatawny Township), PA 73,

they feel that tax simplification is a real possibility. All agreed there was political will to reduce the top tax rate to 25% with the elimination of many deductions and/or credits. The devil is in the details, though, on which deductions.

Genesis Drive and PA 662 (Maidencreek and Richmond Townships) are in the works to relieve the worst of the choke points. While there is some opposition to the use of Roundabouts at several of the intersections, PennDOT maintains that is, in fact, the safest way to proceed and the Chamber is supportive.

There was also disagreement between the Democrats and Republicans on whether it should be revenue neutral or generate increased revenues. At the state level, our priority is to see the Corporate Net Income Tax reduced to closer to 6% from the highest in the nation at 9.9%. We also need to finish the phase out of the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax which most states do not have.

To get the rest of 222 North widened, we simply need more transportation funding. The cost of the intersection improvements will be over $30 million. The widening is more in the ballpark of $80+ million and is not currently on the drawing board for that reason. The Chamber has lobbied for a state transportation funding bill so that this project can advance past the intersection improvements.

The Pension Crisis On the spending side of the equation, the governor has been taking some criticism on his austere state budgets but, quite frankly, I respect his stance to live within their means. That means balancing spending priorities between education, Medicaid, public safety (prisons), and

Our Backs are Breaking Taxes are another area requiring vigilance. Directly related to that is government spending. We took a group of members to Washington D.C. this past spring and every member of our delegation, from both the House and the Senate, said

Continued on page 10

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WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT transportation. This year he has taken on the unsustainable escalation in public pensions. The Chamber has been working to move legislation addressing municipal pensions as well. Public sector pension liability in PA has grown to trillions of dollars and absolutely must be addressed. Pennsylvania has over 3,200 separate local government pension plans, 25 percent of all such plans in the entire nation. Two-thirds of the plans have ten or fewer active members, and many are grossly underfunded. It is estimated that there is over $6 billion in unfunded pension liabilities at the local level alone. The public sector must move away from the current defined benefit plans as the private sector has.

No More Healthcare As We Know It Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) and the impact on the cost of healthcare is on everyone’s mind, whether you own a business or not! The focus of the ACA was not to address affordability, but to address access to care. It will increase access to care but it may very well have the unintended consequence of pushing more employers out of the role of providing that coverage for employees. Our congressmen are eager for input on how employers are dealing with the implementation. We have had to tell them that, quite frankly, there are more questions than constructive advice at this time. Major provisions of the health care reform law go into effect in 2014, including the individual mandate and state health exchanges. The employer mandate, which also takes effect in January 2014, will be the first time that a federal mandate

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requires employers to offer prescribed health care coverage or potentially face a penalty.

The specifics on how this will affect your business depend on a number of factors, including whether you are a small employer or an applicable large employer, whether you will self-insure your coverage, whether you will be purchasing fully insured coverage in the small group and individual market or the large group market. Our role here has been to focus on providing employers updates as the regulations implementing ACA are rolled out. We are posting compliance toolkits on our website that any employer can access.

Rules and Regulations Government mandates in general keep a lot of business people awake at night. In addition to healthcare and taxes, the laws and regulations dealing with labor and environmental factors are probably the most onerous on business. In the recent past, the aggressive posture of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been a high priority. Their actions have been fought at every level and, in fact, have recently reached the Supreme Court for review. This has created a lot of uncertainty and confusion for businesses across the country. Businesses don’t know if the decisions the NLRB has issued have any legal effect, and companies are still forced to spend resources defending themselves against NLRB actions. The NLRB has released over 900 decisions since these recess appointments were made in January 2012 – which may or may not be valid!

All Politics Is Local Local government regulation of business has become an increasing area of concern for businesses. We hear from businesses starting up or expanding their facilities or shops that it is very unclear what is required up front and that you need to figure it out as you go along. Often times, “figuring out” entails a stop work order or denial of a permit, which costs time and money. The Chamber is working with the City of Reading to create better processes for the Codes and Planning departments to create more transparency and an increased focus on customer service. We are also working with the Center for Local Government Excellence to work with other municipalities throughout the County. This is certainly not just a Reading problem.

The competitiveness of our businesses as well as the ability to add jobs and vibrancy of our economy are all impacted by these issues. While the HBA and the Chamber stay very actively engaged with our elected officials on these issues, it helps our efforts when the officials hear directly from businesses and residents, too. We invite you to use our website to communicate with our elected officials at any time. Go to www.GreaterReadingVoice. com and send an email at the push of a button. You just might sleep better if you do!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ellen T. Horan is President and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Check out the Chamber’s website at or contact Ellen at ehoran@ I 610.777.8889




VAC stands for “Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.” Below are some maintenance procedures to do on a regular basis. Proper maintenance and care of your HVAC equipment helps to eliminate costly repairs and high energy usage.

Filter Maintenance

Outside Unit Maintenance

The air filter is one of the most important items in your HVAC system. Clean and change your air filter regularly. Keeping it clean not only lets the system breathe better, but will also keep dust and dirt from circulating throughout your home and collecting in your ductwork.

Check the condition of the outside unit, commonly called the “condensing unit.” In a heat pump, this unit is used all year round. Fossil fuel systems (natural gas and propane) also have an outdoor unit Continued on page 12 august 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs


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work more efficiently. As dirt accumulates around and in the unit it causes the compressor inside the unit to run hotter and longer which costs more to operate while lessening the life of the compressor. A good way to clean the outdoor unit is to gently wash off the coils with a garden hose while the unit is turned off and not running. If you are uncomfortable with this maintenance step you can check with your HVAC contractor about setting up a yearly maintenance schedule. These units are expensive and need regular maintenance to perform their best.

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Inside Unit Maintenance The most common issue with the inside unit is water on the floor around the heating/cooling system. Most times, this is caused by a clogged drain line or faulty condensate pump which prevents the water from draining properly. To clear a clogged drain line you can use a shop vacuum on the open end of the line. The shop vacuum usually has enough suction to clear the debris from the line. We would still suggest you call your HVAC contractor to check to make sure the line is fully clear and the condensate pump is working properly.

Basic Troubleshooting What do you do if your system does not seem to be cooling to the temperature set on the thermostat? First, check that all units inside and outside are running. Listen for the fan motor and the compressor on the outside unit. If the system is not running, you can check the circuit breaker in your electrical panel to see if it tripped off. Reset it if necessary. Do you have airflow? You can check the airflow by turning the fan to the on position on your thermostat. Then you can check the air flow at the registers. Keep in mind that a unit is running properly if it is maintaining at least a 20 degree differential to the outside temperature. If it is 100 degrees outside and the inside temp is reading 80 degrees or lower, the system is working. You can check the output temperature by placing a thermometer at one of the registers and compare that to the reading on the thermostat. If you are still unsure whether your system is running properly, then please contact your HVAC contractor. Hopefully, the tips listed in this article are helpful. As a rule, these will be the most common issues a property owner may encounter. Please do not hesitate to contact your electrical or HVAC contractor about any questions that you have about any issues you may encounter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR David R. Roche is the President of Dave Roche Electric, Inc., a family-owned and operated business since 1974 specializing in residential and commercial HVAC services, duct cleaning, and commercial refrigeration. Contact Dave at or call (610) 678-9644.

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Home Ownership & Politics: What’s at Stake? By HBA Staff For generations of Americans, owning your home meant owning your future and building a sense of stability, pride, and accomplishment. Even with the economic turmoil of the past few years, Americans remain committed to the American Dream of home ownership.


hanks to a national policy that has acknowledged the importance of the home in American family life for almost a century, generations of Americans have counted on their homes for their children’s education, their own retirement, and a personal sense of accomplishment. And, if politicians seeking to reduce the deficit by reducing or eliminating government incentives to own a home had any doubt, a recent survey of likely voters proves it. 14

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By the Numbers Conducted in January 2012, results from the nationwide survey shows that, by an overwhelming margin, American voters say they strongly value home ownership and would oppose efforts to weaken or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction or diminish a federal role to help qualified homebuyers obtain affordable 30-year mortgages. The comprehensive survey

of 1,500 likely voters was conducted on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders by the Republican and Democratic polling firms of Public Opinion Strategies in Alexandria, VA, and Lake Research Partners in Washington, D.C. The survey, which gauged likely voters’ attitudes towards home ownership and housing policy issues, is a follow-up to a similar national poll conducted in May 2011. Three out of four voters – both owners I 610.777.8889


and renters – believe it is appropriate and reasonable for the federal government to provide tax incentives to promote home ownership. This majority sentiment applied to Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike.

The public doesn’t want the government to tamper with the incentives to own a home that are currently in place either. A majority of voters are against proposals currently being considered by lawmakers to reduce the mortgage interest deduction, eliminate the deduction for interest paid for a second home, limit the deduction for those earning more than $250,000 per year, scale back the deduction for home owners with mortgages above $500,000, and do away with the deduction for interest paid on home equity loans. Also, two-thirds of respondents say that the federal government should help home buyers to afford a long-term or 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. Showing that home ownership remains a core American value, 96 percent of poll respondents who own a home said they

are happy with their decision to own, and 79 percent would advise a family member or close friend just starting out to buy a home.

The survey findings are consistent with the results of other public opinion surveys as well. A June, 2011, New York Times/ CBS News poll found that 89 percent said that home ownership is an important part of the American Dream and more than 90 percent indicated that it is important for the federal government to continue the mortgage interest deduction.

Will Congress Do More Damage? Despite the fact that most Americans want change that will mend the housing market, create jobs, and boost the overall economy, policymakers are proposing radical changes that threaten the dream of homeownership for millions of current and future Americans.

The policies that are being considered could negatively impact Americans’ ability to buy a first home, keep their current home, or enter into the move-up market.

Mortgage Interest Deduction Eliminating or limiting the mortgage interest deduction would impose a huge tax increase on millions of middle class home owners and discourage prospective buyers. Changing the deduction would cause after-tax housing costs to increase and housing demand to decrease. Reduced demand would depress home prices, producing a sizable loss for existing home owners, leave more home owners underwater, and fuel even more foreclosures. Such a change in home values could weaken the economic recovery and perhaps drive the nation’s economy back into recession. Continued on page 16

august 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs


HOMEOWNERSHIP & POLITICS estimates, it would take 12 years for the typical family to save enough money for a 20 percent down payment on a median-priced, single-family home. Other research has found it would take even longer.

Mandating 20 Percent Down Payments The national Qualified Residential Mortgage standard that is being proposed by federal agencies would require a minimum 20 percent down payment and other stricter qualifications, which would keep home ownership out of reach for most first-time home buyers and middle class households. According to National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

Creditworthy Borrowers Denied Even though there is pent up demand for homes in many parts of the country, the construction or sale of which would create jobs and support local economies, lenders are not making loans to qualified home buyers. Creditworthy borrowers are being prevented from buying homes by overly restrictive lending standards which is slowing the housing recovery and hurting the economic recovery. Restoring the flow of credit to qualified home buyers will boost the housing market, help put America back to work, and strengthen the economic health

of communities across the country by providing tax revenues that local governments need to fund schools, police, and firefighters. Just as each home is important to the family that owns it, housing is vitally important to local, state, and national economies. It is critical that home ownership remains attainable and that access to safe, decent, and affordable housing remains a national priority.

For more information on the impact of housing and home ownership, go to

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GOVERNMENT REGULATION & TAXATION are unable to sell their current home. Changing the rules now by eliminating or curtailing the deduction would be unfair. It would take money out of the pockets of those home buyers who counted on the deduction being there when they needed it, and it would penalize millions of baby boomers nearing retirement and seniors who own their homes outright.

The backbone of home ownership

Changes to Home Ownership Harm Seniors By HBA Staff

For many Americans, getting married, buying a home, having children and providing them with an education, then being able to retire comfortably without financial worries is the embodiment of their American Dream.


ome ownership has long been the foundation of a family’s ability to achieve their American Dream. For more than a century, Americans have counted on their investment in their homes to be able to pay for their children’s education and to enable them to live where and how they want to after they retire.

It may all soon change But those expectations are in jeopardy for the nation’s 75 million home owners. Policymakers seeking to reduce the federal deficit are considering eliminating or reducing the mortgage interest deduction. Changes to the deduction would not only harm home owners who currently rely on it to manage their household expenses, it would also hurt millions of seniors who no longer claim the deduction; but, still depend on its existence to secure their future. According to most economists, eliminating or scaling back the mortgage interest deduction would trigger a drop in home values. This would cause more home owners to be saddled with mortgages that are larger than their property’s value (known as being “underwater” or “upside down” on the mortgage) which would lead to even more foreclosures and place even more downward pressure on home prices.

Seniors’ nest egg gone Seniors looking to use the proceeds from the sale of their home to relocate to a different part of the country, to move into a retirement community, to help defray health care costs or to fund other long-term obligations would find they have a much smaller retirement nest egg than they’d planned on. They may be forced to keep working for many more years, or to postpone or cancel moving to a new home because they can’t afford, or

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage — the primary housing financing tool for most Americans — is being threatened. Some members of Congress are pushing to end the federal backstop for housing. Without a federal role to absorb market risk, private lenders would increase interest rates and fees on all types of available financing options, including the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. During the Great Depression, the national home ownership rate was well under 50 percent and buyers were often forced to finance their homes with a 50 percent down payment on a five-year balloon mortgage. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage came about as a result of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies and played a pivotal role in helping to increase the national home ownership rate so that today two out of three Americans own a home.

Why the popularity? The 30-year loan is the most popular and sustainable mortgage in the marketplace for many reasons, including:

Affordability. Thirty year terms lock in low monthly payments, allowing households with average incomes to comfortably budget for their home loan. Inflation protection. Knowing their monthly housing costs will remain the same year in and year out regardless of whether interest rates rise provides households with a sense of financial security and also acts as a hedge against inflation.

Long-term planning. Many young buyers know that as their incomes rise, their mortgage payment will stay constant and take up less of their monthly budget, which will enable them to save for other costs like their children’s school tuitions and retirement. Tax advantages. In most instances, all of the interest and property taxes a home owner pays in a given year can be deducted from their gross income, reducing their taxable income. This can result in thousands of dollars of tax savings, especially in the early years of a 30-year mortgage when interest makes up most of the payment. Economists agree that there can be no sustainable economic recovery until the housing market rebounds. A sound housing finance system that provides a stable and affordable supply of credit for home buyers and rental housing is essential to ensure a healthy housing market, to keep standard 30-year fixed-rate loans and adjustable rate mortgages readily accessible and affordable, to spur job creation and to maintain a strong and durable economy. Learn more about the threat to the mortgage interest tax deduction and find out how you can take action to protect it at august 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

17 I 610.777.8889


Why to Buy... By Stephen E. Doyle


ome ownership is as American as apple pie. It has garnered near mythic status as the cornerstone of the American Dream. A dream so deeply imbedded in the subconscious that it is easy to overlook that just 36.5 percent of Americans owned their own homes at the turn of the twentieth century.

Your Biggest Investment Buying a home is arguably the most significant business investment that most people will have ever undertaken in their lives. Mortgage rates are near their lowest levels in more than half a century. People who can afford to buy a home and expect to remain in it for at least several years are in the enviable position of cashing in on an opportunity of a lifetime. According to Heather Christie, Operations Manager and Associate Broker of Prudential (Landis Homesale 18

AT HOME IN BERKs august 2013

Services) in Wyomissing, “This is a perfect storm for home buyers. Interest rates are at historic lows.” Christie went on to say that houses priced right and in good shape are getting multiple offers and that there were 2,584 homes for sale in Berks County, PA., as of December 2012, which translates into $500 million of real estate just waiting to be sold.

gains, if and when they sell the home. The tax breaks are more valuable to higher income earners with bigger mortgages. Many people will learn that these tax breaks mean that owning costs them less than renting.

Purchasing a home, for all intents and purposes, is forced savings. One might rent an apartment for $1,000 month rather than paying a mortgage for $1,400 month. Renting, at first glance, may seem more prudent. But how many people, realistically, will squirrel that $400 away for the future? Most people won’t. Careful attention to crunching the numbers is paramount; but, the part of the mortgage payment that goes to principal repayment is merely ‘equity building.’

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that home sales dropped by 1% from November to December 2012, but remained at nearly thirteen percent above the levels of one year ago. Additionally, they have been steadily climbing over the past eighteen months. According to the Wall Street Journal, for 2012 as a whole, sales were up 9% to 4.65 million units, the highest annual total since 2007.

Furthermore, the home owner can deduct the mortgage interest from their income taxes. They can also deduct real estate taxes as well as get a tax break on capital

The Statistics

Prices, however, are inching upwards because the number of homes for sale continues to drop despite the sales volume gains. The number of homes for sale fell to 1.82 million at the end of 2012, an I 610.777.8889 I 610.777.8889

Continued from page Angles why11 to buy 3. Land/Construction Loan. This loan is used when a buyer purchases 8.5% drop November and in a 21.6% the land andfrom builds a new home one decline fromThe oneprocess year prior, National transaction. is thethe same as a Association of Realtors reported. There construction loan, with the addition of the are notable land cost. reasons for the continued decline of housing inventory.

Assembling Your Dream Team

Why The Change?

Prior to buying land or beginning the One suchprocess, reasonitisisthat building verymany important to homeowners are underwater. than build a team of experts to assistMore you from 10 million homeowners the beginning to the end!owe Thismore team on will their mortgage than their homes are worth, according to Core Logic, Inc. Other people lack the equity to trade up: another 10 million homeowners have less than twenty percent equity in their current residence. Builders have been putting up fewer homes. There has been much less new home inventory being added to the market at a time when demand (boosted by increases in household formation) is picking up. Consequently, there are more buyers than sellers - resulting in houses spending fewer days on the market.

be very helpful in assisting you in making the right decisions for YOU. The TEAM should consist of four people:

The Time Is Now

Experienced Real Estate Professional. Choose a Relator with This is that rare time in which the real in-depth knowledge and a beneficially high level of estate market is mutually experience withsellers: new home construction. for buyers and buyers are taking The real estate professional assist you advantage of the best rateswill in nearly a in locating the right community that fits half a century and sellers are moving their your needs, locating the right homes in asassist littleyou as aincouple of weeks in lot or piece some cases.of land, refer you to the right lender for the situation, and refer you to a builder that willthe accommodate yourtended needs. Housing, over long term, has to beat inflation by a couple of percentage Mortgage Lender. Identify a lender points per year. That’s valuable inflation that specializes in insurance, especially if the homeowner residential constructionis young and raisingand a family and thinking land financing and about the next twenty to thirty years. understands the process. Home ownership is also risk capital. Builder. A qualityway Equity in one’s home is yet another builder you can to trust of linking part of one’s portfolio the a member in good long term growthand of the economy while the Home still getting restfulstanding sleep atof night. Builders Association of Berks County (HBA). A major advantage to home ownership You can look them up at is that the home is the private property of the homeowner. Anything is possible

You. Building a new home can be a highly rewarding experience OR it can be with worst homenightmare! ownership.There Choosing the style your is so much of flooring-hardwood, tile, marble or to consider that in order to keep your carpet, is the sole decision of the happy sanity, you need to surround yourself with homeowner. He chooses colors, good, knowledgeable, and the experienced patterns of the paints andis fabrics that professionals. This article just a broad will addofa what splashtoof color You and must character outline expect. wherever desired. Building a deckprocess for completely understand the whole summertime grilling while savoring and have a good idea of what to expectthe sunset with family friends be a each step of the wayand in order to can realize more than a dream with home ownership. great experience. There will always be issues It’s aproblems reality...and at rates will soon be and to deal with that and decisions climbing. So, it is best strike while thea to make throughout thetoprocess. Having iron isteam hot.ofThe time to buyonisyour now.side will solid professionals help guide you through them and make building your “dream” home a satisfying and rewarding experience!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stephen E. Doyle is a university student ABOUT THE AUTHOR at Penn State Berks (in his 4th year) majoring in professional writing. He is a Gregory Werner is a full service Realtor regular contributor to At Contact Home inGreg Berks at RE/MAX of Reading. as 610.685.3120 he hones his craft. at or email GWerner@

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Angles Ordinances dictate that the third visit has an additional cost.

More times than we could count, they would find “new issues” during the “re-check.” West Reading would then mandate that the owner pay for a follow-up inspection to fix these new deficiencies. No single municipality in Berks County would find new problems with a property on the “re-check” visit. Permits are required for more household remodeling or repairs in West Reading than in any other municipality. R-BAR To The Rescue



unicipalities across the country are adopting point-of-sale home inspections. These inspections are intended to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of all citizens. Specifically, Inspection Ordinances often require the repair of some aspect of the property at the point-of-sale. These Ordinances may be a simple check of handrails on the exterior of a home or they can be a comprehensive interior code inspection by municipal officials. They can lead to thousands of dollars of required repairs. Properties Are Treated Differently Most municipalities don’t understand that these programs aren’t treating all properties the same. One property on a block could be bought and sold a few times over the course of 20 years. However, its neighboring property could remain in the hands of the same property owner for those same 20 years. The latter neighbor will not need to worry about


AT HOME IN BERKs august 2013

these inspections. These local government mandates are unfair and problematic. West Reading The Worst

Several boroughs and townships throughout Berks County have initiated these municipal inspections. None have been worse than the Borough of West Reading. In years past, members informed the Reading-Berks Association of REALTORS® (R-BAR) that West Reading had one of the easiest inspection programs. Unfortunately, leadership and staff changed over the past few years. Consistency became the biggest issue. Why Isn’t West Reading consistent? Often times, municipalities will indicate that the inspection itself costs a specific price. Included is cost for the first “recheck.” This allows the current owner (the seller) to correct all the deficiencies in a certain time period and then have it re-inspected. This way, Codes wouldn’t have to come out a third time, since

In late 2010, the Reading-Berks Association of REALTORS® (R-BAR) started receiving phone calls from several business owners and residents of the West Reading Borough. They were informing us that West Reading’s inspection program became too intrusive. Stories were flooding our phone lines and email inboxes. We were sent photos of individual weeds that were being cited. We attended Borough Council meetings, alongside countless other residents, speaking out against this money-making inspection program. When pressured, the Borough did sit down with us; however, many of our suggestions were passed aside. Fighting Over-Reaching Governments

Our concern became paramount in 2011. West Reading stories were hitting our office faster than we could respond. We needed a strategy to fight this issue. We applied for grant funding for a campaign school from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). R-BAR was the only local Association in the country to hold a “campaign school”. NAR recognized that our members were concerned about West Reading (and other localities) over-reach, and that we needed to do something about it. We wheld the school in 2012, and had a tremendous turnout. We now have several members running for different local offices this year. Our strategy is being followed across the country. Government Affairs Director Chuck Liedike was invited to speak at NAR’s annual legislative conference in mid-2013. He educated attendees about getting members to run for office in problematic municipalities.


west reading and appreciate the need for a healthy housing stock. However, these municipal inspection programs have gone too far. Local government should not be allowed to have inspections at the point-of-sale. It unfairly targets select residents.

YOU Can Make A Difference In May of 2013, the borough halted the program. However, they didn’t want it to go away. We learned that a codes company has been hired to take on the inspections. Perhaps this will correct the inconsistencies. Many members, residents, and business owners are still concerned.

Homebuilders, REALTORS®, and those affiliated with the home-buying experience need to speak up now.

R-BAR received a phone call from a real estate entrepreneur in spring 2013. This individual owned and worked with several properties and property owners throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. After much discussion, this person told us that there isn’t a single municipality that hinders residents and business owners more than West Reading. When comparing West Reading with surrounding larger municipal regions like Pottstown and Norristown – areas known for stringent codes offices – it wasn’t even close. This person stated that West Reading was by far the worst.


Although case law has indicated that municipalities may enter a home at the point-of-sale, what can we expect next from local governments like West Reading? REALTORS® understand

Vicki Venezia, ABR, CRS, GRI is the President-Elect of the Reading-Berks Association of REALTORS®. She has been a member of the Association’s Board of Directors since 2010. A REALTOR® with RE/MAX of Reading, she has been involved with the industry since 2001. Contact Vicki at her RE/MAX of Reading office at (610) 670-2770 or via email:

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Roofing and Siding: Needs Versus Wants of Homeownership By Jessica Whitmore


hen was the last time you thought about your roof ? How about the colors of your siding? One you may take for granted, the other is on your mind often. However, are you focusing on what you need or what you want when it comes to roofing and siding?

“How old is your roof ? Don’t wait for it to leak before you replace it,” recommends Dave Enriquez, Estimator at RAM Siding, Inc. in Douglassville. He continues that anytime a roof is 17 years or older, it is time to consider 22

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replacing it. How do you know it is time to replace it? He works off a checklist that includes items such as leaking in the attic after wind-driven rains or ice build ups, curled or missing shingles, or exterior decay. These are just a few indicators it is time to call a roofing expert for an estimate to replace the roof. One of the first questions Enriquez asks on an estimate is “How old is the current roof ?” He continues with looking and walking over the roof as well as looking into attic areas to determine whether a new roof is needed.

“Roofing is a need. You can’t live without it, and you will have problems if you don’t replace it,” says Enriquez. On the other hand, he suggests that “siding is a want and more for the look of the house. Siding won’t break down and wear thin like a shingle.”

He further explains that siding is more about the aesthetic appeal of the house and the decision of replacing siding really comes down to the homeowner. Enriquez suggests homeowners gather three comparable estimates when considering replacing a roof or siding. I 610.777.8889


Roofing and Siding Trends “The timing to change a roof is a decision between a homeowner and a contractor,” says Larry Adam, Branch Manager of Kohl Building Products in Reading. Sometimes that decision is one where the roof appears to be in worse condition than it is. This can happen when mold streaks appear and impact the appearance of the roof but not the structure of the roof. In such a case, Adam recommends a

homeowner use a roof cleaning solution called Shingle Shield, water, and a garden hose to easily remove dirt, mildew, algae, fungus, and moss Along with the Shingle Shield, Zinc Strips are available for the homeowner to install with a hammer and nail at or near the ridge line of the roof after it has been cleaned with the solution. The strips release zinc oxide when rain flows over the strips. This keeps the vegetation from regrowing on the shingles. Once the decision is made to replace a roof or siding, the homeowner has a host

of choices beyond standard shingles and siding. Adam lists different trends he is seeing with product lines.

GAF’s Timberline Lifetime Architectural Roofing Shingles provide a 3-D appearance of the shingle. They come in a variety of colors and materials and cost approximately $90 per square (a “square” is equal to 100 square feet, think of it as a 10’ x 10’ area) compared to $82 per square for traditional shingles. GAF also has a slate-like shingle called Slateline, which comes in various styles. Continued on page 24

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23 I 610.777.8889


“A lot of older Berks County homes have real slate roofs. This line gives a similar look, but is significantly less expensive than real slate,” says Adam.

When it comes to siding, vertical siding is an option instead of traditional horizontal siding. Mastic Home Exteriors has such options within its Board+Batten series, which can be used on porches, entryways, peaks, and gables, to change the color and

appearance of small accent areas of siding. Standard horizontal siding can cost $60 to $120 per square for materials where vertical board+batten starts at $100 to $200 per square, according to Adam. Shakes, which look like wood, but are vinyl with a rough split look without the maintenance or repair of real wood, are another siding accent option. While the price tag may be higher at $300 per square, Adam reminds that “it is [often used in] a small accent area of 20 square feet or so. That is a small amount to add to the look of the house.”

Another siding option is insulated sidings available through Exterior Portfolio by Crane. The company’s Solid Core and Smart Core insulated sidings have insulated foam on its back. It adds an R value of up to 2.5 and deafens exterior sounds up to 45 percent. The cost, Adam says, is $200 per square “but the R values increase energy savings; so, it pays for itself quickly.”

Finding a Contractor The other important aspect of a roofing or siding job is to find the right contractor for you and your project. Adam suggests 24

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asking for contractor recommendations from people you know, including asking for both good and bad reviews. He also suggests looking at the HBA of Berks County website to look for contractors who are in good standing within the organization. Adam also highlights the organization has an ethics committee where homeowners can present any concerns with contractors and their work. Gary Wolfe, Chairman and CEO of Wolfe Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc. based in Reading agrees that finding a good contractor is important. For him it, isn’t about the price on the quote.

“The eyes see the quote, and homeowners are thinking they are buying a number not a job. That gets them in trouble. Longevity, safety, quality of building, and performance...that is what you are buying. There is a huge difference in the quality of contractors,” explains Wolfe. Wolfe recommends that homeowners ask other people about the contractors they have used for projects. “Find out about the jobs they have done. How do the homeowners feel about the job they did? Find out as much as you can – not just about the price but about the quality of work,” says Wolfe, whose company focuses on commercial and industrial roofing projects throughout Pennsylvania. I 610.777.8889

Scheduling the Project Once you have decided on your roofing or siding project and decided which contractor and estimate to accept, you have to schedule your project with the contractor. As Office Manager, Lee McMullen handles scheduling of roofing and siding projects at RAM Siding, Inc. in Douglassville.

make your house

a home

According to McMullen, a typical residential re-roof project takes two to four days, which includes removing the current shingles. A re-siding project may take between one and two weeks because of any additional project work, such as replacing windows and doors.



“Weather [including rain and heat] also has a big part and can turn a one-day job into a three-day job or a three-day job into a five or six day job,” explains McMullen.

The homeowner really controls when the scheduling can occur explains McMullen. “Sometimes people just want to get on the books, but once they accept the estimate they have to select colors. Some decide quickly, and others take longer.” he explains. He adds that a job can typically be scheduled within one or two weeks of accepting the estimate.

McMullen is seeing more people schedule projects to replace roofs and siding. He sees that as reflective of people doing not only what they need to do but also what they want to do for their homes. “People are starting to put money back into their homes instead of buying new homes. The last couple of years people have been doing only what they have to do. Now, that is starting to slowly turn around,” explains McMullen.


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Digital references:

Mastic Home Exteriors Products and Design Center

Kohl Building Products

RAM Siding, Inc.

Shingle Shield

Exterior Portfolio Products and Dream Designer

GAF Products and Virtual Home Remodeler

HBA of Berks County:

Wolfe Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc

Free design iPad apps: Color Advisor By Ply Gem Industries, Inc (Mastic Home Exteriors) Coordinate siding, trim and accent colors. GAF Virtual Home Remodeler-use an iPad camera and GAF shingles options to see “how it will look on my roof.”

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1047 Old Bernville Rd Reading, PA 19605 (Off Rt. 183N)


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What’s HOT ON


Health Care Reform offers an opportunity


for employers to rethink how health care benefits should be designed and delivered. – Mark Kunkle

Electronic Window Shades: Home Automation There are times when windows are far out of reach or it is not convenient to adjust the window shade by hand -- for those situations, Electronic Window Shades are the answer! They can be controlled from your iPhone, iPad, tablet, smart phone, or separate remote control and can also be tied into systems that allow one touch of a button to set the lighting, adjust the shades, turn on the stereo & TV, secure the house, etc. (perfect for home theaters). Can be retrofitted even where there is no power (battery operated). Charles Bock, President of Stereo Barn, presented to a live audience at the Habitat for Humanity of Berks County ReStore on 9 Mar 13 the basics, definitions, conveniences, and products of Home Automation. (Length: 4:35)

There will be dramatic changes in the future of the employee benefits landscape. We’re experts at benefits consulting. We’ll perform a Health Care Reform Readiness Analysis for your organization. • We’ll review your existing benefit programs and determine which will be affected by the health care reform provisions now and in the future.

Is your company prepared and complying with new regulations? What do you need to know? What plan do you have in place? Are you heading in the right direction? Contact us today. We’ve gained the confidence of over 450 local employers.

• We’ll determine the financial impact of healthcare reform to your organization. We’ll steer you in the right direction and help you implement your company’s health care reform strategy.

610-685-1790 | | 999 Berkshire Blvd., Wyomissing L e a d e r s h i p


S u p p o r t


S o l u t i o n s

Custom Deck Specialists 

Background Checks & Drug Testing: Managing Employees

Pre-employment screening of employees can save your business heartache and expense if done properly and legally. Some areas can be reviewed during the interview & selection process; but, others can only be done after offering the job to the candidate. As part of an on-going educational series of business topics, Richard Holland, SPHR, CCP, Vice President of Tompkins Insurance, presented “Managing Employees” to a live audience of HBA members. (Length: 6:02)

Inspect Repair Design Build

PA 010620


1st Floor Private Tour: 2012 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Your personal, private tour of the 1st floor of the Van Sant home (2012 Build) of Restoring Hope brought to you by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. The HBA of Berks County has always represented the best builders, remodelers, trade contractors, and associated professionals in the construction industry. This is our way of thanking and giving back to a community that provides us our livelihoods. The HBA Restoring Hope Foundation (RHF) is neighbors helping neighbors so a community can rebuild itself. It is not a ‘hand out’ but a ‘hand up’ for one family in the county each year. For the 2012 Build, Mary Jo Van Sant and her two children, Muhlenberg Township, were chosen for a home makeover. The project took place from Monday, June 11th thru Saturday, June 16th, 2012. (Length: 9:48)

Gilbertsville (610) 367.2036

Cooking with Chef Andrea: Pan-seared Scallops in Green Apple Jus Celebrity Chef Andrea Heinly serves up one of her signature dishes in a how-to fashion to a live audience of over 75 in Berks County, PA. Watch every step with complete narration and close-ups to allow you to re-create this gourmet seafood specialty in your own kitchen! The Home Builders Association of Berks County proudly presented Andrea Heinly, Executive Chef of Jimmie Kramer’s Peanut Bar Restaurant and 3rd Place Finalist of Fox’s popular TV show Hell’s Kitchen, to an enthusiastic audience at the Habitat for Humanity of Berks County ReStore in Temple, PA, USA. (Length: 16:31)

Pottstown (610) 327.1120


MANDERBACH FORD 4450 5th St. Hwy. Temple, PA 19560

Bob Keeney Fleet Manager


august 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

27 I 610.777.8889

Membership happenings 2013 Upcoming Events...




sep 9-13

sep 26


Association Leadership Institute Portland, OR All Day

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Habitat ReStore 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Restoring Hope Foundation Extreme Home Makeover 2013 Build All Day

Membership Orientation HBA Conference Room 8:00 am – 9:00 am

NAHB Fall Board of Directors Meeting




Wind Down Thursday


All Day

Member 2 Member Discount Program


s one of the many benefits of membership in the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), the following members are offering the discounts listed to HBA members only. If you would like to join the HBA or offer a Member 2 Member Discount, contact the HBA office: 610.777.8889.

Aluminum Associates / Sloan Corporation Contact: Kert E. Sloan 610.921.2201

5% discount on all services

AmeriGas Propane Contact: Jim Scheaffer 800.533.3537

Free tank set & 5 cent per gallon discount on propane (Some restrictions apply)

Berks Transfer Contact: Bob Quinn 610.926.7626

$50 off 1st can order to new customers

Quality Floors Inc. Contact: Chuck Smith 800.446.6035

10% off any order

(Not valid with any other offers or prior purchases) Geoff Penske Buick GMC Contact: Victor Popescu 610.777.1300

GM affinity program & partnership with HBA (Call Victor for more details on how you can save)

Martin’s Flooring, Inc. Contact: Richie Zook 877.445.7799

10% off materials only (Ask about our contractor referral program)

The Peanut Bar 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Welcome New Members! AmeriCon Builders, Inc.

Marc Geddio, P.O. Box 5976, Wyomissing, PA 19610 / (610) 587-7273 / Work Type: Custom Builder / Sponsor: Cathy Sloan

Kieffer’s Appliances Kristen Cossa, 785 Sumneytown Pike, Lansdale, PA 19446 / (215) 699-3522 / Work Type: Residential Appliances Sponsor: Cathy Sloan Designs by Pier LLC DBA Creative Transitions Pier Ignozzi-Shaffer, P.O. Box 6166, Wyomissing, PA 19604 / (610) 921-2144 / Work Type: Interior Designs & Consulting for Aging Population / Sponsor: Daphne Frownfelter ARC Marketing Solutions Tony Carroll, 304 School Road, Denver, PA 17517 / (717) 989-8049 / Work Type: Marketing/Advertising Sponsor: Diane Salks

Eagle Construction & Remodeling, LLC

George Lobb, 314 Sycamore Lane, Blandon, PA 19510 / (610) 823-8575 / Work Type: Residential Builder & Remodeler Sponsor: Peter Merkel 28

AT HOME IN BERKs august 2013

• whole grains (rolled oats, kamut, spelt, quinoa) I 610.777.8889

• nuts (almonds are great for heart health and hazelnuts help with anxiety)

2013 Foundation Club Members:

• dried mushrooms

We know how to be in 2 places at once with no worries

(alphabetically by company name)

• gluten free crackers (I like KertCrunchmaster & Cathy Sloan and Mary’s Gone crackers)

Our partnership with can make this happen with: - Video Monitoring at your home or business - Lighting and Thermostat control to help

Aluminum Associates

Daphne • whole grain pasta / gluten freeFrownfelter pasta

Deer Mountain Kitchens, LLC

- Remote Locking of doors to allow access whenever needed

• condiments that aren’t loaded with sugar or high Patrick Dolan fructose corn syrup

Dolan Construction, Inc.

• spices – these are your secret weapon; they love your body as Steve Bright much as you do

E J B Paving & Materials Co.


610.372.8872 |

- turmeric (anti-inflammatory /anti-oxidant) John Schmoyer - cardamom (happy tummy) Fulton Mortgage Company - cinnamon (high cholesterol, heart diseases, weight loss, colds,

LLCinfections - mix 1T with 2T indigestion, arthritis, andAritec bladder Grande Construction honey for toast, coffee or tea) Greater Reading Economic Partnership - ginger (happy tummy and anti-inflammatory) Hosty Equipment Co - cayenne (boosts metabolism and detoxifies the blood) Terry Maenza - cloves (one of the worlds healthiest foods; visit Pennsylvania American Water - bay leaf (not just for soup or cooking in rice. Steep in tea James Gaspari to help sooth tummy and enjoy their anti-inflammatory PMJ Properties, LLC properties) Kevin Kozo - salt free seasoning blend Turnberry Custom Homes - peppercorns York International

Once you’ve finished spring cleaning your cabinets, you can work Call the HBA office at 610.777.8889 to learn how to become a member of on being more deliberate about the foods you buy to restock the FOUNDATION CLUB. These members understand the important role legislation plays in their businesses and the importance of electing and supporting them. Worklegislators toward natural foods that are as unprocessed as who are sensitive to the issues affecting the building industry. possible. Your body will thank you for it.

Thank You to renewing members of the Home Builders Association of Berks (HBA) 1st Year Anniversary Basement Waterproofing Specialists CM Squared, Inc. Ernie Martin Excavating Habitat for Humanity of Berks County Hoffman Publishing Group Inc. New Spaces Re/Max of Reading Stokesay Castle, LLC

Power Kunkle Group, Inc. Signature Sign, Inc. SOS Business Machines, Inc.

6-10 years

Apex Professional Mechanical Services, Inc. Geoffrey Penske Buick GMC Trucks Landmark Homes Malsnee Tile & Stone, Inc. 2-5 years Nicholas Ernesto Construction Power Kunkle Group, Inc. Barbey Electronics Corp. Signature Sign, Inc. Capital Plumbing SOS Business Machines, Inc. D & S Portable Toilets, LLC 11-15 years Dave Roche Electric, Inc. Deer Mountain Kitchens, LLC A G M Associates, Inc. Huck Surveying, Inc. Pennsylvania American Water Lacey Electric, Inc. Reading Eagle Company Landis C. Deck & Sons Site Contractors Spayd’s Greenhouse, Nursery & Floral Maidencreek Plaza Corp., LLC Stackhouse Bensinger, Inc. Tompkins Insurance Stubbs Insurance Associates, Inc. York International Weinhold Construction Landmark Homes 16-20 years Malsnee Tile & Stone, Inc. American Inspection Agency, Inc. Nicholas Ernesto Construction

Preparing Whether CyclingYour or Tax Own Planning, I Always Give 100% 1040 Tax Returns? ■

Did you know the IRS estimates that the average taxpayer who prepares his own return spends 23 hours preparing his 1040?* Did you know that Pennsylvania CPAs are required to pass the rigorous CPA exam and obtain 80 hours of Certified Professional Education every 2 years, to retain their licenses? Did you know that CPAs can prepare your return Rodger Krause, Planning and For: for nearly the CPA sameOffers cost Tax as the “chain” taxPreparation firms,

a betterPartnership chance for&above average returns?  with Individual, Corporate Returns  Auditing, Reviews and Compiled Financial Statements *According to the IRS Disclosure, Privacy Act & Paperwork Reduction Act Notice

RODGERKRAUSE, CPA Certified Public Accountant

Expert & Professional Tax preparation for over 26 years. We take great pride in our work.

2210 Ridgewood Rd., Wyomissing

610.670.1040 Fitness Berks

Bailey’s Home Improvement Berks Surveying & Engineering, Inc. Century 21 Park Road Donald R. Heimbach Building Contractor Grande Construction Co. Perry Antique Conservation Security Service Company Tompkins Insurance


21-25 years

Bernard G. Spohn Construction, Remodeling, Painting Miller Builders’ Supply Co., Inc. Strickler Excavating

26-30 years DESCCO Design & Construction, Inc. Schlouch, Inc.

31 + years Berks Homes Sentry Abstract Company

august 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs


Nature has something to tell you.

“ I fire up and test every furnace before it comes off the line.”

Thanks. The more efficient a system, the less energy it uses, and the better it is for the environment. The York Affinity™ Conditioners Heat Pumps meet or beat the One reason York Series Heating Air and Air Conditioning and Systems are so ®

government’s energy efficiency standards with SEERthem ratings updo. to From 18. Plus, Affinity models are reliable is because our people “own” beforeofyou the assembly line to your home, they take personal ownership of all Affinity models are available with eco-friendly refrigerant that is safer for the ozone layer. And each “outdoor and every neighbors” part they are will responsible That’s whatone’s we running. With Affinity, so quiet, you and your hardly for. know when mean when we say: Built right. Built by York. Visit us at efficiency comes naturally.

The eco-friendly York Affinity Series Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps. Heating & Air Conditioning




484-638-8181 610-378-9616


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