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Tips for Unclogging a Kitchen Sink

Kitchen sink clogs—usually caused by grease or overworked garbage disposers can be easily removed in minutes with these simple tools and common-sense tips.

Three-step method

When the water in your kitchen sink won’t drain or drains slowly, don’t reach for the chemical drain cleaner. Instead, try this three-step method recommended by one of our favorite plumbers. The first two steps we’ll show you don’t even require you to remove the trap or take anything apart. If you’re lucky, all you’ll need is a bent coat hanger. But if the clog is in the trap or farther down the drain, you’ll need a 1/4-in. drain snake. You can buy an inexpensive snake that’s simply a cable running through a bent pipe that allows you to twist the cable, but we recommend spending a little more money for a cable that’s enclosed in

Advice for Setting up a Backyard Compost System

Over the past five years, working with Denver Urban Gardens, I came to understand why so many gardeners call compost "black gold." Now that I have been able to transition to a personal home garden, finding a way to easily compost was essential. Just this week, my boyfriend and I installed a two-bin compost system in our backyard, and we are already in love with it. I am even finding that even a lot of the things that were going into my recycling bin are now finding a home in my compost bin.

Here are a few of the things we considered when building our new compost system, along with some lessons learned over the years. Let's get our hands dirty!

Read More Here. 

Here's a Few Backyard Decorating Ideas that Won't Break the Bank

For a high-end backyard look without high-end expense, try this interesting technique: Espalier a tree. It's easier to create a living fence than it looks, and it can be used to add visual interest and texture to a blank wall. 

You don't have to be landed gentry to enjoy a walk around the grounds of your own, personal estate. Here are a few inexpensive outdoor decorating ideas:

Read More Here. 

Build a Backyard Swing Set

You can hire a contractor to build an outdoor play set on your property, or you can try to figure out the project from scratch—but we don't recommend either approach. The first is expensive. The second is risky: Do you know what constitutes hardware that's strong enough to support a swinging child? That's where this project comes in. It combines hardware that comes as a kit from a reputable company with lumber you source and cut yourself.

We used the ­three-swing Pathfinder hardware package and wave slide from Backyard City (; about $600), which had everything we needed for two swings, a trapeze bar, a sandbox, a 10-foot wave slide, and a ladder up to a canopy fort. The kit also includes detailed construction plans, bolts, screws, and brackets. We spent

Tips for Finding the Right Home


Picking out a home is kind of like raising kids. Everyone's got their own ideas of the best way to go about it, and few people have compunctions about sharing them with you. But for what it's worth, here's some good advice.

It's always easier to go through stressful processes and seasons with friends by your side. While it's such an exciting time as well, finding and buying a new house definitely brings its own set of challenges and hangups to the table. So I've been glad that four different people in our office have been trying to find new houses all at the same time. There's emotional strength in numbers for sure, and it's been nice to share our similar successes and horror stories with each other. Since we are all buying houses for at least the second time, we've certainly learned a few things in the process that we thought we'd pass along to our

AnnieMac One Of Region's 'Best Places to Work'

Once again, AnnieMac Home Mortgage has been selected as one of the greater Philadelphia region's Best Places to Work. And the judges who made that selection are some of the smartest and most discriminating professionals in the business today — AnnieMac's own employees.

Philadelphia Business Journal sponsors the awards. Employees of nominated companies receive online surveys, and are asked to evaluate their employers in the following categories:

  • Work environment
  • Personal growth
  • Professional development
  • People
  • Embracing change/new ideas

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the awards take into account diversions such as bowling nights or happy hours. But they're also designed to weigh more important and fundamental considerations, such as whether employees are respected, and whether they have

AnnieMac's Matt Buckley Among Region's Best Attorneys

AnnieMac's Executive Vice-President of Compliance Matthew Buckley has been selected as a recipient of Philadelphia Business Journal's 2016 Corporate Counsel Awards.

The award spotlights the most accomplished legal professionals representing businesses throughout the greater Philadelphia metro area, and recognizes those who best exemplify leadership and commitment to their profession and organization.

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, the Corporate Counsel Awards were created in recognition of the fact that "in today's complex business environment, the expertise of a skillful corporate attorney is more important than ever."

Matthew's application emphasized the exemplary job he's done leading AnnieMac through the increasingly complicated and ever-changing regulatory environment cur

Installing and Maintaining Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are kind of like seatbelts. God willing, you'll never need one. But if you do need it, it can mean the difference between life and death. Here are some tips on installing smoke alarms.

It’s important to have enough smoke alarms in your home. Fire research has demonstrated that with today’s modern furnishings, fires can spread much more rapidly than in the past when more natural materials were used. Because of this, having a sufficient number of properly located smoke alarms is essential to maximize the amount of available escape time.

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Looking for just the Right Touch of Backyard Ambiance? Consider Building Your Own Fire Pit


Backyard fire pits are one of the most popular of all landscaping features. They are attractive, functional and provide an outdoor gathering place.

Ideally, a fire pit is constructed from fireproof material on a flat, level area at least 25 feet from a house or tree. Fire pits are strictly governed by local building codes. Some codes require the pit to be encircled by a border of sand or gravel. So before you decide to add one to your backyard, know the code in your area.

The style and shape of a fire pit can vary. Our circular fire pit is about 2' tall x 5' total diameter and a 3' interior diameter.

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Summer May be Winding Down, but Your Gardening Activity Doesn't Have to


So much emphasis is given every year to getting the garden in throughout the spring and early summer – that sometimes we forget that many crops can be planted again in the late summer.

Almost all of the crops that do well in the cooler seasons of early spring and summer can once again thrive in late summer and fall – giving you a chance to enjoy even more fresh veggies before the proverbial snow starts to fly.

Better yet, with the warmer soil temperatures in late summer – all of the plantings can be done through direct sowing of seeds.  That means for just a few dollars – you can enjoy mounds and mounds of fresh vegetables!

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Late-Summer Storms can get Violent and do Some Damage to Your Landscaping

 Whether you’re a homeowner or manage commercial property, landscaping is important to the overall image of your home or business. You’ve probably invested time, money and effort into making it as close to ideal as possible. Then, one day, The Big One hits – and you’re left with toppled trees, a ripped up lawn, and flowers and shrubs that are utterly destroyed. However, don’t despair – a major storm can turn out to be a great opportunity to try out some new foliage, or to start over from scratch and test out a new design. If your residential or commercial property has recently been affected by a storm in New Jersey, take a look at these five ways to revamp your landscaping and make it better than ever before.

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Congratulations to Marc Zitelman for Being Recognized as a Top Mortgage Lender

Top Agent Magazine has recently recognized Marc Zitelman as a Top Mortgage Lender.

Marc said he's proud of the distinction, but he believes that the entire AnnieMac team shares in it.

"I would like to express my gratitude for the help you have given me in reaching this pinnacle of my profession since joining AnnieMac last November," Marc said.

The magazine, which showcases some of the most successful mortgage originators in the industry, features a page-length profile about Marc. It describes his background as a business owner and consultant before he got involved with the mortgage industry, and how he uses his home base in Montgomery County, Md., to originate home loans in Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Delaware and Florida.

The profile also goes into his community outreach work, which includes various causes including Toys for Tots,

Congratulations to Paul Zinn for Being Among the Industry's 50 Most Connected Mortgage Professionals

The July issue of National Mortgage Professional Magazine lists AnnieMac's own Paul Zinn as being among the industry's 50 Most Connected Mortgage Professionals.

The write-up notes Paul's effectiveness in using social media, and his vital role in transforming AnnieMac from a new retail player in 2010 to one of the nation's Top 10 leders.

The report quotes Paul as saying: "Any success I have is directly related to being part of a great team and a focus on the vital few things to achieve goals."


For more information on National Mortgage Professional Magazine, click here.

AnnieMac Wins Corporate Culture Award for Second Year

For the second year in a row, AnnieMac Home Mortgage is a winner of SmartCEO magazine's 2016 Philadelphia Corporate Culture Awards.

SmartCEO states:

"The Corporate Culture Awards program honors companies that foster a creative, collaborative workplace culture to enhance performance and sustain a competitive advantage. Smart leaders understand that culture is a company’s greatest asset, driving performance and growth. What’s more, a successful culture is actively and intentionally cultivated and developed."

An independent committee of local business leaders chose the winners among this year's applicants. According to SmartCEO, the committee members were looking for companies that "championed for a positive, productive culture in their organization, and ... worked with employees to develop successful cultural practices."

As a winner, An

Things to Consider Before Having a Deck Built


NOTE: William McCracken, owner of BCM Home Improvement in Marlton, N.J., already contributed a story about the first steps in getting a deck installed, in which he discussed the particulars of licensing. See that story here:

In the second part, William talks about the types of material available.

By William McCracken

Decking choices and brands can be overwhelming at first glance, but they fall into a handful of main categories: wood,  composite, wrapped composite, metal, and plastic/PVC decking.

Wood decking, such as pressure treated pine, cedar, or exotic hardwoods, need to be stained or sealed to keep their look and fo

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AnnieMac Home Mortgage

The Mortgage Company

Jeff Coon

Phone: (732) 378-6104

1800 Rt 34

Wall NJ 07719