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Contents

Home Bu ilders As sociatio n of

Berks Co unty OCTOB ER 2013 SSOCIATION OF AL A ON

NAT I

Features:

BUILDERS ME HO

BERKS BES T EXECU PUB-IN-NA TI LICAT TIO ION N AWARD VE ED BEST-IN -NATIO N

HBA Restorin Hope s g Build 2013

5 Septic Systems Preserved.

COUNTE CREATI RTOPS: FOR TO VITY CONSU DAY’S MERS

What About Taxes?

Act 41, introduced by Rep. David Maloney of Berks County, will allow the continued use of septic systems as long as they comply with Clean Stream Law requirements.

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HBA Restoring Hope’s 2013 Build

Angles 19

The HBA Restoring Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization, was established after the popular television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to Berks County in 2010.

10 Countertops: Creativity for Today’s Consumer

Nowadays when you decide to grow a small business, no matter the market sector, it isn’t long into the planning process that you determine you need to start or upgrade a website to market yourself.

22 Energy Efficiency

The push toward energy efficiency is all around us. There are countless state and federal energy programs, and the acronyms for them could fill volumes.

It’s easy to understand why more and more people are choosing to remodel rather than relocate. Remodeling, particularly the bathroom and kitchen, has returned with a vengeance.

12 Independent Contractors in

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the Construction Industry

Are your independent contractors truly independent contractors under the law? In Pennsylvania, independent contractor relationships in the construction industry are governed by the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act.

16 Berks Executive Best-In-Nation

Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM of the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), recently received the Best New Executive Officer award for 2012 from the Executive Officers Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Maximize Your Online Presence

Four Approaches to Paying Down Debt Debt can be good. It builds credit, allows expansion, closes gaps, and funds education.

Departments

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From the President

HBA of Berks County President Cathy Sloan.

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Membership pages

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


$500 Tax Credit Must Meet Energy Star Criteria

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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

Remodel Speak.

Patrick Dolan, AIA, LEED AP Dolan Construction, Inc. (Reading)

contract for which the brand, model number, color, size, or other details are not yet known.

Second Vice President Ed Anewalt

Bid/Quote: A proposal to work for a certain amount of money, based on plans and specifications for the project.

Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting (Bernville)

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

Contract: A final written agreement which legally secures the original quote. Required under Pennsylvania law for projects costing $500.01 and up.

Treasurer John Schmoyer Fulton Mortgage Company (Wyomissing)

Building Permit: A document issued by a governing authority, such as a township, city, or county codes enforcement department, granting permission to undertake a construction project.

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

Call-back: An informal term for a return visit by the contractor to repair or replace items the home owner has found to be unsatisfactory or that require service under the warranty.

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, Esq. 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

T

he home building industry celebrates National Remodeling Month in May, but remodeling is popular year-round, and the industry is growing every year. Whether it’s a small cosmetic remodel such as replacing bathroom fixtures, or a major down-to-the-wall-studs overhaul of your kitchen or adding new space to your home, understanding the terminology your professional remodeler is using can be very helpful to ensure you get the finished project you want. As you interview potential contractors, this glossary of common terms used by builders and remodelers will help you understand the language of your remodeling project–and help you avoid miscommunication with your contractor. Allowance: A specific dollar amount allocated by a contractor for specified items in a

Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR): A professional designation program offered through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). To attain the CGR designation, a remodeler must take a specified number of continuing education courses and comply with a strict code of ethics. Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS): CAPS professionals have learned strategies and techniques to meet the home modification needs of home owners who want to continue living in their homes safely, independently and comfortably regardless of age or ability level. CAPS graduates pledge to uphold a code of ethics and are required to maintain their designation by attending education programs and participating in community service. Certified Green Professional (CGP): Teaches techniques for incorporating green building principles into homes–without driving up the cost of construction.

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

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From the President Graduate Master Remodeler (GMR): This allows CGRs to attain further recognition for educational excellence and longevity in the remodeling industry. This program is designed to be the master level of the CGR designation. Qualifications include 15 years’ remodeling experience, completion of 5 required courses, and having an active CGR for 9 years or active CR (Certified Remodeler) from NARI (National Association Remodeling Industry) for 10 years.

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Change Order: This is written authorization to the contractor to make a change or addition to the work described in the original contract. The change order should reflect any changes in cost.

Whether decorating your home or your business, Anewalt’s has a festive solution! Anewalt’s offers you creative and durable holiday products and lighting. From the classical look of the Icicle LightLinks™ to the modern Star Lightlink™, you will surely find a style to compliment your home or enhance your business.

Cost-plus Contract: A contract between contractor and home owner that is based on the accrued cost of labor and materials plus a percentage for profit and overhead–also known as a time-and-materials contract.

Draw: Designated payment that is “drawn” from the total project budget to pay for services completed to date. A draw schedule is typically established in the contract. Lien Release: A document that voids the legal right of a contractor, subcontractor, or supplier to place a Mechanic’s Lien against your property. Once you pay the remodeler, a lien release assures you that the remodeler has paid subcontractors and suppliers in full for labor and materials.

Plans and Specifications: The drawings for the project, and a detailed list or description of the known products, materials, quantities, and finishes to be used. Punch List: A list of work items yet to be completed or corrected by the contractor, typically near or at the end of a project. The list can be generated by the remodelers themselves or in conjunction with the home owner during a project walkthrough.

Subcontractor: A person or company hired by the contractor to perform specialized work at the job site; such as: electricians, plumbers, roofers, landscapers, etc. So, when considering your next remodeling project, remember the above terminology to help you not only understand your contractor’s terms; and to help you identify a true

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AT HOME IN BERKs october 2013

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Mechanic’s Lien: A lien against your property obtained by an unpaid subcontractor or supplier through the courts. When enforced, real property–such as your home–can be sold to pay the subcontractor or supplier. If a subcontractor or supplier has been paid by you and has signed a lien release, then this lien cannot be enforced.

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professional. The most common way though to identify the professional is to call your local HBA office.

Visit www.NAHB.org/remodeling for additional consumer information about remodeling including how to live while you’re remodeling, understanding your remodeling contract and questions to ask when looking for a remodeler. To find a professional remodeler in your area, visit the HBA of Berks County web site at www.HBAberks.org and look for the big button in the upper right-hand corner that

says “Need a Contractor, Product or Service?” or call to have a FREE printed Membership Guide sent to you by regular mail (610) 777-8889.

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


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features

SEPTIC SYSTEMS PRESERVED. WHAT ABOUT TAXES? By Representative Mark Gillen

SAVING RURAL AMERICA The PA state House recently approved, and the governor signed into law, a bill I co-sponsored that will help ensure rural Pennsylvanians can continue to use and have homes built with on-lot septic systems.

Act 41, introduced by Rep. David Maloney, also of Berks County, will allow the continued use of septic systems as long as they comply with Clean Stream Law requirements. The legislation was necessary following a policy change suggested by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). That change, if enacted, would have added thousands of dollars to the cost of building rural homes in Pennsylvania. Home construction is an important part of Pennsylvania’s economy. Failing to enact this reform could have threatened the economic growth of the Commonwealth. Owning a home is an

important part of the American Dream. The additional costs associated with the suggested policy change could have pushed that dream out of reach for many rural Pennsylvanians.

Property Tax Reform Gaining Momentum Property taxes are another threat to the American Dream of owning a home. As long as this tax is in place, Pennsylvanians cannot be secure in their houses. The effort to replace school property taxes has led to the development of the Property Tax Independence Act, which was crafted with the input of numerous grassroots taxpayer organizations across the Commonwealth.

As I write this article, there currently are nearly 90 co-sponsors for the legislation in the state House of Representatives. Legislation must receive 102 votes in the House to be approved.

In the Senate, the companion piece of legislation has 22 co-sponsors. Bills must be supported by 26 senators in order to be passed in that chamber. The replacement of school district property taxes would have a positive economic impact on Pennsylvania. More young families would be able to afford to purchase their first homes. That would result in an increase in demand in the home building market.

These two legislative initiatives – the new law dealing with septic tanks and the other to replace school district property taxes – demonstrate the General Assembly’s willingness to work on issues that impact Pennsylvanians. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Representative Mark Gillen (R-128) was elected to the PA House of Representatives in 2010 and began serving in 2011. The 128th District includes Brecknock, Caenarvon, Cumru, Mohnton, New Morgan, Robeson, Shillington, Wyomissing, Wyomissing Hills, and parts of Exeter and Spring townships. october 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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features

HBA Restoring Hope’s 2013 Build By Dawn Wivell. Photos by Wayne Becker of Wayne Becker Photography

The Pieller Family Brian and Lisa Pieller knew the 100-yearold home they purchased in 2007 needed a lot of TLC. They moved their family– 9-year-old Ashley and 10-year-old Eric– into their ‘new’ 1,400 SF home and got to work. By 2010, they had completed many of the smaller projects, but hadn’t started on any of the major work. Then the unthinkable happened: Brian was killed in a tree-trimming accident at work. Lisa, a full-time medical assistant, was left with the responsibility of raising two teenagers and taking care of a home that still needed a lot of attention. She admits, “I would look around the house and think, ‘I should be able to fix that,’ but didn’t know how.” She said, “I had no clue, and I was afraid of making it worse.” 6

AT HOME IN BERKs october 2013

By 2013, the Pieller family was still living in a home with uneven floors, drafty doors, and a broken pellet stove (their only source of heat). A friend gave Lisa an application for the 2013 Restoring Hope Foundation Build, an all-expensepaid one week home makeover. Lisa decided to apply. On Tuesday, June 4, 2013, more than fifty people–including relatives, friends, members of Lisa’s church, Womelsdorf officials, and members of the Foundation–showed up on the Pieller’s front porch to tell them that they were the HBA Restoring Hope 2013 Build recipients (Editor’s Note: Watch the Candidate Announcement at www.HBArestoringHOPE.org). Lisa was shocked, but Christian D. Malesic,

Executive Officer at the Home Builders Association, said “We saw something in Lisa Pieller.”

The HBA Restoring Hope Foundation The HBA Restoring Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization, was established after the popular television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to Berks County in 2010. Many of Berks County HBA members who were involved with the Extreme Makeover project wanted to continue giving back to the community. The Restoring Hope Foundation was the answer. Its mission is “to construct solutions to address unique challenges of deserving people in Berks County,” its


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

HBA RESTORING HOPE 2013 goal is to help restore the lives of middleincome working families who have fallen on tough times, and its focus is on giving a “hand up, not a hand out.” Each year the Board of Directors chooses one family to receive a one-week home makeover. Applicants go through a rigorous application process that includes criminal and credit checks and a review of the family’s bank statements. The Foundation confirms that the family owns the house and that their property taxes are paid. The Board also considers if the family has the potential to pay it forward and if the workers will be able to complete the work needed on the home with the limited budget available. Once

the family is chosen, Restoring Hope makes the Candidate Announcement Ed McMahon-style by showing up on the recipient’s front porch with a huge crowd and a box of hope–a small wooden chest that is presented to the candidate by the previous year’s recipient. Weeks of planning ensue. Organizers create schedules, seek donations, and enlist volunteers and specialists. Artisans meet with each family member to find out what styles and colors they like. Finally, the “real work” begins. For one week, the family is sent to a hotel or B&B, and volunteers take over their home, doing what needs to be

done to create a more comfortable home environment.

The 2013 Build Every project presents its own unique set of challenges. According to Eric Keller, the 2013 Chairman of the Board and Construction Coordinator, the biggest challenges this year were the age of the home and a very limited budget (donations were down this year). One of the blessings was that workers only ran into one major unforeseen issue–the discovery that the home was a Continued on page 8

“Many of Berks County HBA members who were involved with the Extreme Makeover project wanted to continue giving back to the community. The Restoring Hope Foundation was the answer.” october 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

HBA RESTORING HOPE 2013

timber-framed building. This meant they couldn’t install the insulation directly into the walls in the kitchen above the drop ceiling line, but had to drop down below the ceiling line to drill numerous golf ball sized holes. Since they had to drill into the wall paneling, they decided to replace all the paneling in the kitchen (something they had considered doing anyway, but had passed on due to budget constraints). That was quite a change from last year when workers uncovered three major unforeseen repairs that cost days and thousands of dollars. Another thing that helped this year’s Build go more smoothly is learning from past mistakes and successes; the Foundation employed a set of systems and processes that helped ease the hectic transition from day to day.

Volunteers and Donations These projects would never happen without the help of hundreds of volunteers and local businesses. This year, volunteers provided 8

AT HOME IN BERKs OCtOBER 2013

more than 1,500 hours during the week of the makeover. That doesn’t take into account all the work leading up to the Build–such as scheduling, ordering parts, administration, or soliciting donations. Volunteers ranged from young adults to senior citizens and from business owners to stay-at-home moms. A majority of the volunteers were business owners or workers from businesses that were paid by their employers to do the work (the businesses donated the workers’ time). Even those who didn’t know the difference between a wrench and a ratchet found something they could do–serving food, applying primer, cleaning up. Volunteers gave what they could, many working from dawn till well beyond dusk.

One of those volunteers was Rich Bowden. It was his first time helping with an HBA Restoring Hope Build. By going in to work early or staying late, this fulltime worker at a bakery engineering firm managed to find time to help. He said, “It was an awesome experience.” He chuckled as he said every night he went home and told his wife, “I’m so exhausted,” then added, “What a great feeling!” He started helping with basic clean up, until they realized he was good with his hands.

Then he was put to work installing closet doors, light fixtures, and more. He was impressed by how many “Professional volunteers,” as he called them, gave their time when they could have been out making money on a job site. Rich also praised the United Zion Church of Christ in Womelsdorf. They hosted lunch for the workers every day that was provided by either the church, local civic organizations, or community restaurants. “They didn’t care how dirty we were and always provided us with a great meal,” Rich added.

In addition to their time, many individuals and businesses also donated materials and products. If the Piellers were to hire contractors to do what was donated in expertise, labor, and materials, the total package price for this renovation would have been $55,000.

The Big Reveal On Saturday, September 14th, as volunteers scrambled to get some last minute work done–such as installing switch plates in the living room and


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HBA RESTORING HOPE 2013 replacing a faucet in the kitchen–people began to assemble on the Pieller’s front porch and sidewalk.

Past recipients, Chris Eisenhower of Shartlesville (2011 Build) and Mary Jo Van Sant of Muhlenberg (2012 Build), were also there. Mary Jo said, “I know how it feels. They [the HBA Restoring Hope Foundation] changed my life. I was terrified. I didn’t have heat. They saved the house and gave me piece of mind.” Chris agreed, “They do amazing work. I hope they’re able to continue.” When the Piellers rolled up in a limousine, a crowd of friends, family, and volunteers cheered. After a few short speeches and lots of pictures, the family was finally taken on a tour of their new home. Ashley Pieller, a 15-year-old freshman at

HBA’s Service Projects The HBA of Berks County won the 2012 Best-in-Nation Community Service Project award for the whole-house remodeling project for Mary Jo Van Sant and her two children, of Muhlenberg Township.

Latest Project: The Piellers Day 1/ September 9 • Master bedroom is totally gutted • Steps to the third floor are removed and replaced • Landscaping begins • Crew discovers that it’s a timber-framed house Day 2/ September 10 • Pergola is installed • Kitchen paneling is installed • Drywall hung and joint compound begun in master bedroom • Eric and Ashley’s rooms are primed Day 3/ September 11 (It’s hot & humid) • Electricians switch electrical service and install an outlet for dryer in kitchen, a porch light, and outside receptacles • Trim work is installed in living room, kitchen, and master bedroom • Artists begin painting • New ceiling tiles are installed in kitchen

Conrad Weiser High School, said, “I love it!” She couldn’t believe how much bigger it made the house look. “It feels huge,” she said. Eric Pieller, a 16-year-old junior at Conrad Weiser, said he couldn’t pick out one think he liked the best (except maybe the Mountain Dew mural in his bedroom). He said, “I like everything!”

And what did mom think? Her first thoughts were for her son. She loved what they did with his room, saying, “He deserved it. He was up there when it was an unfinished attic.” When pressed, she admitted that she loved the kitchen update, the security system, and the retaining wall in the backyard. She said knowing that everything in the house was right–from the electrical system to the doors–provided such a feeling of comfort and security. She said, “There isn’t a big enough word to say THANK YOU to everyone.”

Day 4/September 12 (It’s rainy & still humid) • Carpet installation begins on Eric and Ashley’s rooms • Furniture from master bedroom is painted • Steps to basement are repaired • Shelving in linen closet is replaced Day 5/ September 13 • Carpet is installed in the living room, master bedroom, and on the steps • Ceiling tiles in hallway are replaced • Vinyl flooring in Eric’s room is installed • Bi-fold doors are installed on closets • Storm door is installed on front door • Stone behind pellet stove is installed

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features

Countertops: Creativity for Today’s Consumers By Stephen E. Doyle

Sustainability: A New Buzz Word Sustainability is the potential for long term maintenance of well-being. Healthy ecosystems and environments are crucial to the ultimate survival and flourishing of man. Going ‘green’ is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint while keeping more of it in our pockets. As we are a nation of hard workers, a relaxing return to the roost entails the need to refuel and rejuvenate after a long day’s work. That return to home should be as worry-free as possible.

The term ‘sustainability’ ushers in thoughts of going ‘green.’ But the term ‘green’ means different things to different people. The basic categories of green are: sustainability, efficiency, durability, and health. • A countertop made of repurposed glass, manufactured and purchased relatively close to the consumer, is one such example of sustainability.

• Two notable examples of efficiency in the home would be to install solar panels as well as additional insulation, thus ultimately reducing fuel costs. 10

AT HOME IN BERKs october 2013

gradually cooled over millions of years thus creating a substance nearly as hard and durable as diamonds. Fused together, the stones, solidified deep within the earth under extreme pressure, lead to the creation of a durable stone, ideal for countertops. Furthermore, granite is also heat, stain, and scratchresistant. It is easy to see why it’s the • Green living would not be complete number one choice for kitchen and without mentioning the overall bathroom countertops selections. focus on health in the home. The Prices vary typically depending on use of no VOC paints in the home color availability. is just one example of green-focused Marble is mostly composed of calcite. health in the home. Though it is very heat-resistant and • Granite is a great example of durability. Granite is scratch-, heat-, and stain-resistant and is currently the leading choice of cabinets and countertops, especially in the kitchen. Granite has also recently transitioned into an outdoor countertop preference as well.

Combined with the recent trend of people opting to remain in their homes longer–likely due to more stringent borrowing rules–it’s easy to understand why more and more people are choosing to remodel rather than relocate. Remodeling, particularly the bathroom and kitchen, has returned with a vengeance.

Options: Decisions...Decisions... Decisions...

Granite is actually a group of stones formed from liquid magma that has

preferred by many people, it also demands near-constant maintenance as it easily stains, even when sealed. It is usually a popular choice for bathroom countertops but is less than ideal due to the corrosive effects of water. Marble may be the best example of a beautiful stone that will continue to strain the wallet, ultimately proving that another choice of stone would have been a more ideal decision requiring less maintenance over time. Quartz is considered ideal for the kitchen due to its heat-resistant


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countertops properties. It’s a man-made stone product comprised of natural quartz combined with resin binders and pigments. Available in a myriad of colors, it has a non-porous surface that resists scratches and stains. Unlike other stones, quartz does not require sealing. It is relatively easy to maintain. The price is somewhat expensive, but hasn’t seemed to discourage people in the market for new countertop materials. Laminate countertops are comprised of plastic-coated synthetic materials with an easy-to-clean smooth surface. Available in many colors, they are also inexpensive. Many first-time homebuyers will also marvel at the cost savings of laminate. A notable downside of laminate countertops is that they can be easily burned by hot pots and scratch easily.

Maintaining Lovely Granite Maintaining your countertops begins with protection and prevention. It is paramount to find out when, and if, they have been sealed. If the countertop has not been sealed, find a recommended high-quality, food-grade seal and apply it according to the manufacturer’s

directions. Also, find out how frequently the countertops will need resealing.

Place hot plates, pans, and pots on trivets and hot pads on the granite countertop. Additionally, do not carelessly lay utensils on granite surfaces. Though granite is scratch-resistant it can still get scratched. When, and if, scratches do appear, consult your local stone dealer for the scratches and stains that are not easily removed. Remove oil-based stains with acetone, bleach, mineral spirits, or ammonia mixed in water. Hydrogen peroxide combined with a

few drops of ammonia will easily remove drink stains like coffee or tea. Follow up with dish soap detergent and water. Then, dry and buff with a soft fiber cloth. Remove water spots from hard water and minor scratches by carefully buffing with steel wool. Remove stubborn soap scum on bathroom counters with ammonia only when soap and water fail to suffice. Never use acidic cleaners such as vinegar on granite. Remember to clean all spills as soon as possible in order to avoid staining and never use scouring powder on granite countertops.

ideal. If quartz maintenance is prudently followed, it will last your lifetime.

Marble countertops offer a polished, elegant appearance to kitchens and bathrooms alike. Although they are pricey, marble countertops are long lasting. Marble is composed of calcareous stone which is very sensitive to acidic cleaners such as vinegar and lemon juice. Marble is also highly porous making it susceptible to stains and scratches.

countertops. Floor strippers, oven cleaners and drain cleaners can damage the surface. Although quartz is durable, it can be chipped or cracked from heavy objects hitting the surface. Though quartz is scratch-resistant, it is not scratch-proof. Quartz can also handle hot objects as long as the temperature does not exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

Clean quartz countertops with warm water and a soft cloth. Mild dish detergent and warm water can be used for deeper cleaning. Keep strong chemicals far away from quartz

Marble If You Must

Marble countertops, in the bathroom, require a marble wax or a non-yellowing automobile paste wax. Only non-toxic sealers should be used in the kitchen. Clean marble countertops daily with water and a slight amount of mild dish detergent, or use a stone cleaner that is typically available at most hardware stores. Always dilute the soap in water to avoid streaking. Carefully wipe the countertop with the soap and water combination, follow with rinsing the countertop with plain water and wipe dry with a soft cloth.

THE CHOICE IS YOURS If properly handled with care, the three previously mentioned countertops options can last a lifetime. Homeowners want both bang-for-the-buck as well as premium products that are easy to

May the Quartz Be With You Quartz countertops are practical and luxurious. This nonporous stone resists spills and stains, which makes cleaning it

maintain. Sustainability is exemplified quite well by the recommended steps of care for the most popular countertops on the market today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stephen E. Doyle is a university student at Penn State Berks (in his 4th year) majoring in professional writing. He is a regular contributor to At Home in Berks as he hones his craft. october 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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features

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY By S. Whitney Rahman and John W. Roland

A

re your independent contractors truly independent contractors under the law? In Pennsylvania, independent contractor relationships in the construction industry are governed by the Construction Workplace Misclassification Act, 43 P.S. §§ 933.1-933.17. This Act addresses the misclassification of construction industry employees as independent contractors for workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation or purposes. 12

AT HOME IN BERKs october 2013

The Legalese The Construction Workplace Misclassification Act:

• Provides a specific definition of independent contractor

• Provides for criminal and civil penalties for misclassification •

Applies to companies, their officers and agents, and to some individuals contracting with companies who misclassify workers

• Allows the state government to shut down jobs if misclassification is rampant

Prohibits any person from requiring any individual to enter an agreement or sign a document that results in the improper classification of that individual as an independent contractor

Creates a rebuttable presumption that taking an adverse action against a person within 90 days of the person’s exercise of rights was done in retaliation for exercising of those rights.

• Prohibits retaliation against any person exercising rights protected by the Act, including filing a complaint under the Act


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INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Who it Affects

• has the tools, equipment, or other assets necessary to perform the services independent of the person for whom services are performed

The Act applies to individuals who perform services for pay in the construction industry. Construction is defined as the “erection, reconstruction, demolition, alteration, modification, custom fabrication, building, assembling, site preparation, and repair work done on any real property or premises under contract,” whether public or private.

• will make a profit or loss as a result of performing the services • performs the services through a business in which the individual has a proprietary interest • maintains a business location separate from that of the person for whom services are being performed

Under the Act, an individual can be considered to be an independent contractor for purposes of workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation only if all of the following criteria are met:

• either previously has performed the services for another person under the circumstances set forth above for independent contractors, or holds himself out to others as being able and available to perform these services; and

The individual...

• has a written contract to perform the services

• is free from control or direction over performance of the services, both under the contract and in fact •

• maintains liability insurance of at least $50,000.00 during the term of the contract.

is customarily engaged in the service in an independently established trade, occupation, profession, or business, which occurs only if the individual:

Evidence that no employee taxes have been withheld, or that unemployment

compensation contributions or workers’ compensation premiums have not been paid on the individual, has no bearing on whether the individual is in fact an independent contractor. Penalties are Steep A violation of the Act occurs each time an employer, officer, or agent improperly classifies an employee and does not pay unemployment compensation contributions or provide workers’ compensation insurance for the individual. Such violations need not be intentional, and can add up quickly. The penalties for violations are eyeopening. First, violators, including officers and agents, may be found criminally liable. A first violation for an intentional violation of the Act will be a misdemeanor of the third degree. Any subsequent intentional violation will be a misdemeanor of the second degree. Even a negligent violation may draw a criminal penalty. Such violations will be

Continued on page 14

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INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY summary offenses, subject to a fine of not more than $1,000.00 per violation. Prior convictions under the Act can be used as evidence of intent to violate the Act.

Second, violators may be subject to civil fines of not more than $1,000.00 for a first violation, and not more than $2,500.00 for each subsequent violation.

Third, the PA Secretary of Labor and Industry may petition a court for a stop-work order, either for the individual classified as an independent contractor, or, if several individuals are misclassified, requiring the cessation of all business operations of that employer at each site where a violation occurred within 24 hours of the effective date of the order. The order remains in effect until the court releases it, or until a finding is made that the employer no longer is in violation of the Act. If an employer ignores a stop-work order, it will be subject to a penalty of $1,000.00 per day. A stop-work order and any penalties shall remain in effect against any successor corporation or business entity that has one or more of the same principals and officers as the employer that had the stop-work order or penalties, and which is engaged in the same or equivalent trade or activity.

The violations also extend beyond employers, officers, and agents to reach any party that intentionally contracts with an employer, knowing that the employer intends to misclassify employees in violation of the Act. Any such parties are subject to the same penalties as the employer.

Defense, Defense, Defense There is a potential defense if the person for whom services are performed believed in good faith at the time the services were performed that the person was an independent contractor. The party claiming the defense must prove good faith belief, which may be hard.

In the past, entities have tried to ensure the status of workers as independent contractors by entering into contracts whereby the individual agrees that he or she is an independent contractor, and meets the criteria for that status. Going forward, entities will need to be much more careful in using this tool. The Act makes it unlawful for any person to require or demand that an individual enter an agreement or sign a document that results in improper classification of an individual. The penalty is a fine of $1,000.00 to $2,500.00 for each violation.

The Act also prohibits discrimination or retaliation in any manner against any person exercising rights protected under the Act. Rights protected include filing a complaint or informing any person about an employer’s noncompliance with the Act. If an adverse action is taken within 90 days of the person’s exercise of any rights under the Act, a court will presume it is retaliatory. It will be the employer’s burden to prove otherwise, which may be hard to do.

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What Does This Mean For You? If you do any business that is within the definition of “construction” under the Act, you should make sure to continue to monitor any relationships that you consider to be independent contractor relationships, to ensure that they continue to meet all the necessary criteria under the law. If you have doubts, you should treat the individual as an employee rather than an independent contractor. ABOUT THE AUTHORS S. Whitney Rahman and John W. Roland are partners at Roland Stock Attorneys at Law (www.RolandStock.com). Though both attorneys have a breadth of experience in various legal fields, each has a concentration in Labor & Employment Law. Contact Whitney by email at swrahman@rolandstock.com or John at jroland@rolandstock.com. Both can be reached by phone at (610) 372-5588.


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features

Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM of the Home Builders Association of Berks County

Berks Executive awarded

Best-In-Nation

C

hristian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM of the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), recently received the Best New Executive Officer award for 2012 from the Executive Officers Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The award was presented by 2011 award recipient Ronny Parrish of the HBA of Tuscaloosa, AL during NAHB’s annual 2013 Association Leadership Institute

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AT HOME IN BERKs october 2013

held in Portland, OR. Malesic became the Executive Officer (similar to CEO) of the HBA of Berks County in February 2012 following the retirement of his long-term predecessor, Ronald Rohrbach. The residential construction industry had experienced one of its biggest downturns in recorded history which had devastated the HBA over the previous five years. Membership was less than half of its all-time high, the association was deficit

spending, its “rainy-day fund” had practically run dry, and morale was dwindling.

Berks Gains Along with a dedicated team of leaders, Malesic spearheaded a number of projects to increase esprit de corps and regain momentum. Earlier this year, the HBA was recognized with three Best-in-Nation


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

best in nation award Awards for those efforts: • Best-in-Nation Publication for At Home in Berks magazine (the one you are reading now), • Best-in-Nation Community Service Project for HBA Restoring Hope Extreme Home Makeover, and •

Best-in-Nation Social Media for innovative use of the HBA’s website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Additionally, Malesic assisted the Board of Directors in “stopping the financial bleeding” which will culminate in a balanced budget for 2014 for the first time in eight years. What’s more, at the direction of the Government Affairs committee, he organized, scripted, and moderated the largest set of political debates ever held in Berks County with two PA Senate candidates [Schwank (D) vs. Mogel (R)] and four PA House of Representatives candidates [Cox (R) vs. Saar (D) and Rozzi (D) vs. Billman (R)] facing off in three separate debates back-to-back.

Letters of Recommendation Galore

remarks were succinct and poignant: “Due to Christian’s dedication and forward thinking, his largest contribution has been Continued on page 18

Cathy Sloan of Aluminum Associates in Muhlenberg Township, the 2013 elected President of HBA of Berks County, was one of the 17 signatories to numerous Letters of Recommendations supporting Christian for this honor, which included every Officer and Director on the Board, staff of the HBA, plus the CEO of the Pennsylvania Builders Association, the HBA’s parent organization. Sloan extolled, “Christian Malesic is definitely deserving of the New Executive Officer Award. He has helped to change the whole outlook of the association and its members, which was well overdue.” Kevin Kozo of Turnberry Custom Homes in West Reading served as the 2012 elected President and currently holds a seat on the Board of Directors as the senior advisor to the President. His

Malesic receiving award from 2011 award recipient Ronny Parish of the HBA of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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best in nation award his commitment to keeping our HBA alive. Simply said, without him as our Executive Officer, our local HBA would have closed its doors last September [2012].”

So What Is This Award? This award, named in remembrance of David G. Lloyd, the late Executive Officer of the Home Builders and Contractors Association of Palm Beach, FL, is presented to a CEO who has served no more than three years in an association management position, but who is judged to have made major contributions to the profession during that time. “Winning the Best New Executive Officer award is truly a great honor,” said Tim Minton, national president of the NAHB’s Executive Officers Council and Executive Officer of the HBA of Raleigh and Wake Counties, NC. Mr. Minton, coincidentally, was the Best New Executive Officer award winner for 2010. More information on the David Lloyd Best New Executive Officer award can be found at HBAberks.com/staff which includes commentary on and by Malesic plus his acceptance speech in Portland, OR.

The David G. Lloyd Memorial New Executive Officer Award of 2012 presented at the NAHB’s annual 2013 Association Leadership Institute held in Portland, Oregon.

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Angles

MAXIMIZE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE

N

owadays when you decide to grow a small business, no matter the market sector, it isn’t long into the planning process that you determine you need to start or upgrade a website to market yourself. If you aren’t too technologically savvy, you may have a “nerd-connection” who can hook you up with an online presence you can publicize on your old fashioned business cards, brag about to your family and friends, and most importantly, be searchable on “The Google Machine.” I have been that “nerd-connection” for a few friends who have grown small businesses. Here are the top nuggets of advice I give them.

Choose the Right “Real Estate”

If you are just starting out, you will need to register a domain name, establish a hosting company to store and deliver your website, and develop the content you want present as your online presence. I have had a positive experience with the largest online solutions company, GoDaddy.com.

NetworkSolutions.com is another big player in the industry, but there are certainly other companies that offer similar full-range of services. Whichever you choose, be sure they are in the business of hosting web content. Don’t entrust your online content to a friend’s home server just to save a few dollars a month. If the friend’s server goes down, for even a day, the money you saved could be quickly erased.

Choose the Right Name

Pick a good domain name. Joesauto. com might be taken, but don’t settle on a long domain name like joesautomotiverepairshop.com. That is a lot to type, especially in the browser of a smart phone. Smaller names may be better. However, there are exceptions. My favorite example is ihatestevensinger. com. This is a jewelry store that has a somewhat long URL, but it is catchy. Again, a site like GoDaddy.com, whois. com, or NetworkSolutions.com can help you with the name selection and tell you what is already taken. Additionally, feel free to register numerous domain names and have them

By Dave Parfitt all “point” to your primary site. That way, no competitor can try to sleight-of-hand your customers away from you.

Don’t Skimp On Design Just as you hope others will find and hire you for your expertise, you, in turn, should strongly consider a professional firm to design your logo, content, and overall web site template. WordPress and Joomba are two companies that provide user-friendly templates that non-tech-savvy people can develop and, most importantly, maintain. Using a content management system, like those just mentioned, will take all the scary programming aspects out of the equation.

Again, don’t be “penny rich” and just settle on a free template. Consider spending $25-$50 on a template that is a bit more customized. The companies previously mentioned offer you options during signup to create a custom website, complete with an eCommerce and mCommerce component, that may also be of benefit to your business. Continued on page 20 october 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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Angles MAXIMIZE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE

Keep the Content Fresh The number one rule of online marketing is–keep your content fresh. It should be original, relevant, and timely. Perhaps the easiest way to accomplish this is by keeping an up-to-date blog. This helps ensure potential customers who are searching for terms related to your business will have a better chance of finding you. While you will need to find time to write the content, the majority of your posts can be short and sweet. You can offer a coupon in a post, talk about a recent project (perhaps with a before and after picture), commend a staff member who is making a difference in your company, or promote a trade show you are attending.

“The number one rule of online marketing is–keep your content fresh. It should be original, relevant, and timely.”

Have an Online Advertising Budget While fresh content helps create higher search results, you may want to consider paying for some ads to ensure a nice balanced approach. Think about it, have

Technology solutions to keep your business running.

No one knows technology solutions like Stratix.

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AT HOME IN BERKs october 2013


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you ever clicked on the 6th “O” of GOOOOOOGLE? Me neither! The bottom of Google home page provides a link to get you started with their advertising programs. Once signed up, you will also have a nice interface you can log into to track page views and other important marketing statistics.

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A REMODELING COMPANY Serving Berks County Since 1972

Have a Mobile Presence Don’t assume your website is being viewed from a computer. Mobile devices now make up 25% of the search clicks being conducted each day. Your website might not present well on a smaller screen. Ensure that your mobile landing page is optimized for smart phone users. Often companies block Internet usage of their employees while they are at work, so personal smart phones, using cellular data plans, are the way employees get around the restriction. Others may use their lengthy commute to find contractors.

Get Social Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are all free ways to promote your business. As mentioned above, if you commit to having accounts on these sites, you need to commit to update the content and keep the information fresh. Post engaging content. Establish relationships with other businesses that allow you to cross promote each other. Have you ever attended a business card exchange? Well, consider this a URL exchange. Social media activity also serves as “signals” to Google and other search engines. As you use these social sites to link back to your website (i.e. “backlinking”), the Google algorithms are evaluating this as “authority” and “credibility.” With this in mind, encourage your existing customers, family, friends, and followers to share your website link as well. Think Virally!

IT’S ALIVE! Hopefully this very brief introduction to online marketing will get you thinking about your online presence. You don't need a degree in computer science, or a large budget to get going, or proactively maintain your presence. You do need to pay attention to it. It is alive–a “living” and “breathing” representation of you and your business.

Kert E. Sloan CGR, CAPS, CGP President

Cathy A. Sloan CGR, CAPS, CGP Office Manager

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Make it look larger than life, and then work each day to live up to it. Your web presence may end up being the most important tool in your toolbox.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dave Parfitt is an IT manager at a PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) university. In his free time he is a MBA student at Shippensburg University and professional drummer. He lives in East Stroudsburg with his wife, son, and two dogs. You can contact him at daveparfitt@gmail.com.

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Angles

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND YOUR MONEY

T

he push toward energy efficiency is all around us. There are countless state and federal energy programs, and the acronyms for them could fill volumes. For builders, that often means navigating through a morass of perplexing guidelines just to ensure all the requirements have been met.

Burning Your Hard Earned Cash Home owners are facing ever-increasing energy costs. In fact, a recent study by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy found that the average percentage of after-tax income spent on home energy jumped dramatically between 2001 and 2012. In 2001, according to the study, that percentage was 12%. By 2005 it had risen to 16%, and it was projected to rise to 21% by 2012.

It’s clear that tracking energy efficiency is more than just a passing fad. The problem, however, has been finding an easy-tounderstand method to do it. 22

AT HOME IN BERKs october 2013

By W. David Wallace

HERS to the Rescue Luckily, there’s a comprehensive solution that’s gained acceptance as the go-to guide: the HERS Index. The Home Energy Rating System (HERS), developed by RESNET, is a nationally recognized method for inspecting a home and calculating its energy performance. It’s even used by the Department of Energy for ENERGY STAR and the Department of Energy Challenge Certification. By 2011, 40% of all new homes in the United States had received HERS Ratings. RESNET-certified inspectors determine a home’s energy performance and decide what can be done to maximize efficiency. The home is then assigned a score on a scale of zero to 150. The lower the score– the more efficient the home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical home scores 130 on the HERS Index, and a standard new home scores better at 100. A score of zero means the home produces as much

(renewable) energy as it consumes. It’s considered a “net-zero” home. On the other end of the scale, a score of 150 shows the home is 50% less efficient than a new home built to current efficiency standards. In other words, a high score means the home is an energy hog.

The Value in Energy Value The HERS Index is a powerful tool not only for builders, but for home owners, home buyers, and real estate agents alike. It essentially boils down all of a home’s pertinent energy data into one easy-to-understand number, much like a car’s MPG sticker. This allows a seller to demonstrate a home’s value versus a nonrated or poorly rated home. It also allows a potential buyer to calculate the cost of home ownership beyond more traditional factors such as home price, square footage, and mortgage options. Furthermore, it provides permanent documentation of a home’s structural components.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND YOUR MONEY There’s proof that the HERS Index can raise a home’s value. A 2010 study by the Portland, Oregon nonprofit group, Earth Advantage Institute, found that newly built, certified energy-efficient homes sold at an average of 8% more than noncertified homes in a six-county Portland metropolitan area. The study also found that existing, certified energy-efficient homes sold at prices up to 30% higher than non-certified homes.

An unrelated study, performed jointly by the University of North Carolina and the Institute for Market Transformation, showed that mortgage default risks were up to 32% lower on homes that had been certified as energy efficient. The housing market is catching on to these benefits. As savvy home buyers increasingly search for more energyefficient housing, Multiple Listing Services nationwide are responding by displaying HERS Index scores alongside their typical MLS data.

and type of house it’s applied to.

The software then virtually “builds” a reference home using all the design characteristics of the actual house, but built to the 2006 Energy Code. Then it “builds” the house again, only this time to the home’s actual energy efficiency level. The comparison between the reference home and the actual home is how the score is determined.

Based on previous utility bills, the program can also be used to project the impact of changing something– for instance, adding more attic insulation or a new furnace–on current energy use. Additionally, it can project a new home’s utility bills with a fair amount of accuracy –to the point that a guarantee of the projection can be offered.

Connect with the HBA...

Home Builders Association of Berks County

@HBAberks

HBAberks

Group: HBA Berks

Channel: HBAberks

What’s It Mean? So how, exactly, is the HERS Index calculated? A RESNET-certified inspector gathers all the pertinent information about the home. The inspector then uses a special computer program, called RemRate, to calculate a home’s efficiency. RemRate is a residential energy analysis, code compliance, and rating software.

Use Energy Knowledge to Save Money

The inspector enters home data including: • House size in square feet;

• Types and sizes of heating, cooling, and hot water systems; • Type of thermostat;

• Sizes and types of windows, the orientation of the windows and how much shade they get from the eaves; • Information on doors;

• How the home is insulated;

• and climate data based on the home’s location.

Other data figured into the home’s score include exterior walls (both above and below grade); floors over unconditioned spaces (such as garages or cellars); ceilings and roofs; attics, foundations and crawlspaces. All of this means the HERS score is always relative to the size, shape,

HERS is THE Standard While there is a competing index–the Home Energy Score, or HES–the RESNET HERS index is the industry standard. More than one million homes have been rated since 1995, and the numbers are growing daily.

The HERS index has a proven track record utilizing current data, local climate conditions, and current building materials. It is even accepted by key players in the energy mortgage industry, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Federal Housing Administration.

As the momentum for HERS picks up, don’t find yourself left out in the cold. It makes smart business sense to embrace the move toward tracking energy efficiency and energy-smart home construction. If you’re a builder, real estate agent, or home owner, set up an inspection with a RESNET- certified rater. ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

W. David Wallace of East Penn Energy Solutions is happy to help with all of your energy and certified rating needs. Reach David at epenergysolutions.com, david@epenergysolutions.com, or 610.906.3350. Patrick F. O’Donnell also contributed to this article. october 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

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Angles one tool in your toolbox to be used when your goal is to reduce total interest paid. And, just as a hammer is a wonderful tool, it doesn’t help much to remove a screw or cut a board in half. Balance Approach

Four Approaches to Paying Down Debt By Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM your debt reduction goals faster; but, a he School of Hard Knocks has smaller pot, used correctly, will still take likely taught you one of the four you in the proper direction. decision-making approaches used to pay down or pay off debt. Armed with The question becomes: If you have this knowledge, you are ready to fiscally multiple debts (say...a property mortgage, lead your household or your company vehicle loan, and credit card), which do down a path which will only be wrong you pay off first? There are four decisionabout 75 % of the time. making approaches that help you identify which should be paid first: Interest Rate Debt can be good. It builds credit, Approach, Balance Approach, Cash Flow allows expansion, closes gaps, and funds Approach, and Risk Reduction Approach. education. Too much debt, conversely, can plague a family budget or a company. Interest Rate Approach Once you have made the decision to reduce debt, this short guide will Demagogues of modern mythology have, assist you in determining how to best most likely, taught you the first of the four accomplish your goal. approaches through magazines and trade

T

In very simple terms, to reduce debt you must first be able to pay all of the minimum payments on each debt and other monthly expenses. After that, additional “debt reduction” funds must be available to apply to one of the debts with the intention of eliminating it. Additional funds can either be in a large lump or in smaller sums over time. The size of the pot of money is less important than the process. A larger pot will help you reach 24

AT HOME IN BERKs october 2013

journals or on the radio and television. Pay down the debt with the highest interest rate. Thus, if the mortgage has an APR of 7.4% while the vehicle loan is 6.0% and the credit card is 5.5%, choose to pay debt reduction funds toward the highest interest loan–the mortgage. The reasoning of this approach is sound and the math is simple. It is not wrong; it is just incomplete as it represents only

The beauty of debt reduction is the snowball effect which allows future debt reduction payments to be much larger than starting payments. Once you pay off the first debt, all else being equal, you can now add the monthly payment you were paying on that debt to your original debt reduction payment, both of which can now be applied to the second debt. The Balance Approach, then, guides you to pay down the debt with the smallest balance left on the loan when your goal is to reduce the number of debts owed. Thus, if the balance on the mortgage is $258,000, the vehicle loan is $3,500, and the credit card is $8,000–pay off the vehicle loan first. This will allow you to combine the payment you were paying on the vehicle loan plus your additional debt reduction payment toward the next debt– either the mortgage or the credit card. Cash Flow Approach The only consistent thing in life is “change.” Just as you must be flexible in life, you must strive to add greater flexibility to your finances. The Cash Flow Approach teaches to reduce the loan that will reduce monthly cash flow; meaning, the amount that you must pay each month as the sum of all your minimum payments. Mortgages and vehicle loans are often installment loans, so even if you make a large payment above the minimum this month, you will still owe the same minimum payment next month. On the contrary, credit cards, credit lines, and interest only loans adjust their monthly payment amounts based on the balance due. So, if the minimum monthly payment on the mortgage is $2,100, the vehicle loan is $650, and the credit card is $200–pay toward the credit card first. As the credit card balance is paid down, the minimum payment amount will go down causing less cash to flow out of your finances. This allows the most flexibility should things turn for the worse, opportunities arise, or plans change.


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Angles

PAYING DOWN DEBT

Risk Reduction Approach Lenders categorize debt based on risk exposure and so should you. Even though your plan may be to totally eliminate all debt, plans change. Sometime in the future you may once again find yourself before a lender seeking another loan, maybe to refinance a loan at a better interest rate. Chances are good this will happen before your total debt elimination plan is fully realized. Prepare now for that likelihood by paying off high risk debt first to reduce your overall cumulative risk so lenders are more likely to grant you that future loan. Lenders first categorize debt as “secured” and “unsecured.” Secured debt is backed by collateral that the lender can repossess or foreclose upon should you cease to keep up your end of the bargain. This can be complicated as lenders further categorize secured debt based on the value of the collateral, how the collateral normally appreciates/depreciates, and the ability to resell it. For this reason, a well-maintained building is better

collateral than undeveloped land, and both are better than a vehicle which, in turn, is better than a boat. The better the collateral, the less risk associated with the debt. As you might suspect, unsecured debt is uncollateralized. It has nothing to back it up except your word that you will repay. Unsecured debt is, therefore, the most risky debt. Following through with the above example, using the Risk Reduction Approach–pay off the credit card first, followed by the vehicle loan, and then the mortgage. The Best Approach for You As you can see, each approach can produce a different answer as to which debt to reduce first. Unfortunately, just as there are no magic wands, there is not a best approach. All four approaches have great merit and can produce the “right answer.” In the end, it is you who must decide the prudent financial management solution to meet your goals.

Run through the analysis using each tool. Lay out the results for your particular situation. Balance what you find against your personal strengths and weaknesses while weighing in possible future scenarios. Then, make a decision! No decision you make to reduce debt will be wrong, it will just minimize your total interest paid, reduce the number of debts owed, add greater flexibility to your finances, or prepare you to seek another loan. Whatever decision you make, make it today. 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: Christian@ HBAberks.org or, to receive notice of the newest articles written by Christian, follow him on Twitter @CDMalesic.

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Membership happenings 2013 Upcoming Events...

OCT 17

OCT 26

NOV 7-9

NOV 13

Wind Down Thursday Geoff Penske Buick/GMC 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

HBA Fall Clean Up Day HBA Property 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

PBA Board of Directors Meeting Hershey, PA All Day

Annual Membership Meeting & Elections Reading Muhlenberg Career & Technology Center (RMCTC) 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

NOV 21

DEC 6

Remodelers Council Mixer B&G Glass 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Christmas Party & Installation Banquet Green Valley Country Club 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Member 2 Member Discount Program

A

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

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

Free Interior Design & Special HBA Contractor Pricing (Ask about our contractor referral program)

Spray Foam Insulation Services

PA098824

• Residential • Agricultural • Commercial

Existing or New Construction Elmer Swarey 484-256-1079

E-mail: elmerswarey@gmail.com Fleetwood, PA

26

AT HOME IN BERKs october february2013 2013

Inc

Charles Swarey 484-256-2015


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

2013 Foundation Club Members: (alphabetically by company name)

Bob Keeney

Kert & Cathy Sloan

Aluminum Associates SALES

Daphne Frownfelter

Deer Mountain Kitchens, LLC Patrick Dolan

Fleet Manager

MANDERBACH FORD

bkeeney1@netzero.net

4450 5th St. Hwy.

Dolan Construction, Inc.

manderbach.com

Temple, PA 19560

Steve Bright

610.929.3683

E J B Paving & Materials Co. John Schmoyer

Fulton Mortgage Company Aritec LLC Grande Construction Greater Reading Economic Partnership Hosty Equipment Co

Custom Deck Specialists   

Terry Maenza

Pennsylvania American Water James Gaspari

PMJ Properties, LLC Kevin Kozo

Turnberry Custom Homes

Inspect Repair Design Build

PA 010620

610-376-8086 BreyerConstruction.com

York International Call the HBA office at 610.777.8889 to learn how to become a member of the FOUNDATION CLUB. These members understand the important role legislation plays in their businesses and the importance of electing and supporting legislators who are sensitive to the issues affecting the building industry.

Health Care Reform offers an opportunity for employers to rethink how health care benefits should be designed and delivered. – Mark Kunkle

Thank You to renewing members of the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA)

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.

1st Year Anniversary

6-10 years

Berks Commercial Renovations, Ltd. Kelly’s Kleaning National Penn Bank Reading-Berks Association of Realtors Suzy Rae Design

A.K.A. The Fence Company, Inc. Bertolet Construction Corporation Breyer Construction & Landscape, LLC European Builders, Inc. Holland’s Electric, Inc. John Monaghan Group of Kutztown Liberty Environmental, Inc. Martin Appliance & Water Conditioning Mast Roofing & Construction, Inc. PMJ Properties, LLC

2-5 years Berks Career & Technology Center Berkshire Building Services, Inc. Bieber Electric & Remodeling Ciesco, Inc. DBA – Stealth Insulation Creation Cabinetry LLC Harron’s Insulation & Ceilings, Inc. Kevin K. Ohlinger Residential Design, L.L.C. L.A. Kehres Building & Remodeling – Brad Kehres, Affiliate L. H. Brubaker Appliances, Inc. Martin Construction Company Quality Floors Inc. Sentinel Exteriors LLC The Seltzer Group Verizon Wireless

We’ll steer you in the right direction and help you implement your company’s health care reform strategy.

610-685-1790 | www.pkbenefits.com | 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

21-25 years Frank Ferrara & Son, Inc. Hotsy Equipment Company Knauth Construction Ram Siding Co., Inc.

26-30 years Keepsake Homes, Inc.

11-15 years

31 + years

Carabello Plastering & Stucco Dick Wessner, Inc. ParenteBeard LLC Paul W. Essig, Inc. Reinsel Kuntz Lesher LLP

B & G Glass Dolan Construction, Inc. Greth Homes John D. Smith Pella Window & Door Company Reading Precast, Inc.

16-20 years E J B Paving & Materials Co. Gallen Insurance , Inc. Stereo Barn

october 2013 AT HOME IN BERKs

27


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

A community bank. Funding community projects.

Sounds like a good formula to us.

.

.

For more information please contact VIST Bank at 610-478-9922.

www.VISTBank.com

21 Sept. 30 thru Oct.

90th Anniversary

Fall SALE Pick Your Own Discount &

Receive

25% 5%-50% OFF 5% Materials Only When You Select Your Flooring & Pop a Balloon in Our Store. Labor Not Included.

FREE ESTIMATE Shop at Home Service

28

• CARPET • VINYL • HARDWOOD • LAMINATE • CERAMIC TILE

*Ord **Orders rdders e must er m stt be be placed plac l edd during durin urin uring ig ssale dates. Not valid with any other ooffers or prior purchases. LLabor not included.

3020 KKutztown t t Rd. Rd Laureldale, L PA 19605 610-921-2088 • www.boyersflooring.com

AT HOME IN BERKs october 2013

channel

Private Tour: 2013 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Your personal, private tour of the of the Pieller home (2013 Build) of HBA 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. (Length: 10:22)

Member MemberFDIC FDIC

Every Saturday, Events & Prize Drawings

HBAberks

Big Reveal: 2013 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Watch the family react as they see their “new” home for the first time. The Big Reveal (Saturday, September 14th, 2013) of the HBA Restoring Hope 2013 Build to Lisa Pieller and her children, Ashley & Eric, organized by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. (Length: 14:14)

At VIST Bank your success is our business. Let us support your local projects. It’s a formula we’ve been following for 104 years. Visit us at www.VISTBank.com.

50% 10%

What’s HOT ON

Day 3 Briefing: 2013 Build of HBA Restoring Hope Berks County REMEMBERS 9/11 by giving back and celebrating community! Day 3 Briefing (Wednesday, September 11th 2013) of the 2013 Build of HBA Restoring Hope organized by the Home Builders Association of Berks County in Pennsylvania, USA. For the 2013 Build, Lisa Pieller and her two children, Womelsdorf Borough, were chosen for a home makeover. The project took place from Monday, September 9th thru Saturday, September 14th, 2013. (Length: 4:44)

Put Contracts in Writing As part of an on-going educational series of business topics, Executive Officer Christian D. Malesic, MBA, IOM presented "PA HICPA & Contracts in Plain English" to a live audience of HBA members. This video reviews the need for written legal documents, Standard Form Contracts, use of "trade custom" terms, and ambiguity in contractual language. The Home Builders Association of Berks County, PA, USA provides education & continuous improvement seminars, round-table discussions, and training on business & construction topics of all shapes & sizes on a frequent basis. Beginning in 2012, the HBA started recording some of these sessions and editing the content into packets of concise, usable information as a service to our members and the business community at large. (Length: 14:50)


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Myerstown 800.887.7555

Brownstown 800.224.3612

Cleona 800.518.7555

Reading 866.497.2481

Ephrata 877.733.7730

Quarryville 800.786.7231

www.martinsappliance.com


make your house

a home

V BERKS ISIT COUNT Y

PREMI ’S E GARDE NC R EN

TER Wh previeewre you can y and plaour prints nts!

CUSTOM DESIGNS & INSTALLATION

Landscaping | Hardscaping | Ponds, Water Features & Waterfalls COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY MAINTENANCE SERVICES Fall Clean Up | All Season Lawn Care | Fall Fertilization Winter Protection Shrubs | Pruning of Shrubs | Seasonal Plantings Replacement & Rejuvenation of Landscapes | Edging & Mulching Pond Maintenance Services | Weed Control-Beds | Fall Pond Closings

riverviewtree.com

PA # 005859

610.929.5049 3049 Pricetown Rd. (Rt. 12) Temple, PA

At Home in Berks October 2013  
At Home in Berks October 2013