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Thomas Skiffington,  CRS, GRI, CRB, ABR, ePro, CLHMS, SRES, RECS, CDPE, ECOBROKER
Thomas Skiffington, CRS, GRI, CRB, ABR, ePro, CLHMS, SRES, RECS, CDPE, ECOBROKER
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie, PA 18944
Phone: 215-453-7883
Office Phone: 215-453-7653
Toll Free: 800-440-remax
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email: tom@tomskiffington.com
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Tom's Blog

3 Simple Steps to Sweeten Someone's Valentine's Day

February 13, 2014 1:48 am

(BPT)—Nearly everyone has more than one special person in their life. Whether it's a neighbor who lets the dog out, the friend who watches the kids in a pinch or a colleague who makes Mondays a little more bearable, loved ones make our days better. A simple thank you or a small thank you gift can go a long way in showing those people just how much you appreciate them.

A recent survey revealed that most people do have multiple "loves" in their lives. In fact, significant others aren't the only ones who get Valentine's Day gifts these days. This survey, which was commissioned by Rich Products, a leading provider to foodservice, in-store bakery and retail marketplaces, showed that Valentine's Day now extends way beyond that one special person. Forty four percent of people said that they purchase gifts for multiple people on Valentine's Day. When asked to identify their "other loves," friends were at the top of the list; and surprisingly, among their favorite gifts were fresh baked goods ranging from cookies, cupcakes and other sweet treats.

So to sweeten your relationships all year round, small thank you gifts are both welcomed and appreciated. And keep in mind it's not the size of the gift that matters. Survey results show that good things come in small, personalized packages.

Give the gift of deliciousness

To get started, remember showing your appreciation doesn't have to be expensive and time consuming. Gifts can be purchased on your weekly (or daily) trip to the grocery store then personalized and decorated with things that you have around the house. You can stock up on these inexpensive supplies at your local craft store. -

Here are some simple, low-cost steps to show someone you care:

Step 1: Visit the bakery department in your local grocery store for a variety of fresh and delicious options. From frosted cookies, to cinnamon rolls, cupcakes and doughnuts, you'll find a treat to please everyone on your list - and there's no baking involved.

Step 2: Personalize each gift by selecting a baked good and using basic art or wrapping supplies (think ribbon spools and tissue paper leftover from Christmas) that you have around the house to dress up your gifts.

Step 3: Attach a personalized, handwritten note on a piece of construction paper or cardstock. Cut the paper to size, punch a hole to thread a ribbon through and tie it to your gift.-

Other ideas for a quick and easy do-it-yourself ways to dress up your gift:

* Homemade gift bags: Cut hearts out of construction paper and glue onto a lunch bag.

* Decorative plates: Find inexpensive, seasonal or colored ceramic plates at your local discount store and wrap with cellophane and a bow.

* Sweet surprise: Grab a small gift box, place some tissue inside, add your selected baked good and tie with a colored bow. Make sure that the baked good is secure in the box. You don't want it to crumble.

Source: www.pinterest.com/bakerybecause.

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Word of the Day

February 13, 2014 1:48 am

Maturity date. Date on which principal and interest on a mortgage or other loan must be paid in full.


 

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Q: What Is the Most Common Type of Contract for Listing Properties?

February 13, 2014 1:48 am

A: The exclusive right to sell. It gives the real estate broker the exclusive right to sell your home during the term of the listing. If a sale occurs – even if you sell the home yourself – the broker gets a commission. The broker may share the listing with other brokers on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to get the widest possible exposure for your home. If you request that the property not be listed on a multiple basis, only the broker named in the contract and his or her sales agents can market and show it.

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7 Bright Ideas for Your Kid's Room

February 11, 2014 7:42 pm

If baby is fast outgrowing the nursery, it may be time to redecorate, turning the room into a bright, appealing space he or she can enjoy for years to come.

From the decorating experts at HGTV, here are six stylish and inexpensive ideas any child will appreciate:

  • Easy storage – “Clean up your room” becomes easier when closet space, coat racks, book shelves and toy storage cubes are at kids’ eye level. A bank of wooden cubes along one wall – painted white or in primary colors – will hold plenty of precious “stuff.”
  • Art wall – Install wainscoting – or any narrow railing of your choice – about 3 feet up on one wall. Paint the wall below it in chalkboard paint (available in most home stores) and keep colored chalk available for drawing.
  • Wall tattoos – Removable wall transfers are inexpensive and widely available in a range of patterns and styles. Change them as and when you wish to reflect your child’s interest in farm animals, vroom-vroom trucks, cars and trains, dinosaurs, or fairy princesses.
  • Display space – every kid wants some. Choose galvanized metal (available in sheets at home stores) to create a magnetic bulletin board, or peel-and-stick corkboards that are easily attachable – and removable - to or from any wall.
  • Multiple lighting – in addition to overhead light, bring in a nightlight or a glow-in-the-dark switchplate, and a dedicated reading light at bedside.
  • Pitch a tent – What kid doesn’t want a secret hideout? Search the toy or camping store for a small tent you can pitch in a corner of the bedroom.
  • A third dimension – Someone handy with basic tools can build a three-dimensional structure out from one wall; a puppet theater, perhaps, or a make-believe “stage,” or even a walk-in “playhouse.”
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Legal How-To: Looking Up Patents, Trademarks

February 11, 2014 7:42 pm

How do you look up a patent or trademark? It's a question many creative minds may be wondering about.

When contemplating a patent or trademark, it's important to conduct a preliminary patent and trademark search to make sure there isn't one that's similar -- or even identical -- to your idea.

Regardless of the reason for your search, there are a variety of ways to search for a patent or trademark.

Searching for Patents

Here are three ways to perform an online patent search:

USPTO database. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office allows full-text and image database searches for patents.

Google patent search. If you're more comfortable using a search engine other than the USPTO database, Google also has a free patent search engine tool that synthesizes the USPTO's information. Pro: It's more user-friendly than the USPTO's site. Con: It's in beta, so there may be a few hiccups here and there.

Fee-based services. There are also a number of fee-based services that include extensive search functions. One example: Thomson Innovation (which, like FindLaw.com, is owned by Thomson Reuters).

Searching for Trademarks

Similarly, here are three ways to go about performing an online trademark search:

USPTO database. Like patents, you can do your own search of trademarks registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Search engines. For initial screening -- and to find unregistered trademarks, which can affect your ability to register a trademark -- you can try using a regular search engine. Web searches can help you see how and where the name you want is being used.

Fee-based services. You may choose to use a fee-based trademark search engine, such as the database available through Thomson CompuMark (which, like FindLaw.com, is owned by Thomson Reuters). It boasts a range of features, including initial trademark screening, deeper screening, flexible search options, search templates, and flexible reporting and exporting for easy sharing with clients and colleagues.

Source: Findlaw.com

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Six Hot Home Design Trends for Spring 2014

February 11, 2014 7:42 pm

(BPT)—Does the change of seasons have you itching to refresh a tired, lackluster room? Or maybe you're looking for some small ways to make a big impact on your home's style? Whatever the case, here are some of this season's most buzzed-about trends and how you can incorporate them into your next project.

* Wood is the new neutral. This season's strong trend toward wood textures pairs the warmth, richness and texture of real wood with limitless design flexibility. Think wood-textured textiles, tree-printed wallpapers and embossed soaps that look like wood. Installing engineered wood ceilings and wainscoting can bring the unique look of reclaimed wood into any environment - an easy do-it-yourself project with striking results. -

* Ode to the elements. Mother Nature is inspiring design in a big way this year and homeowners are finding unique ways to incorporate rocks, minerals and other natural elements into their home's design. Try replacing a common-place item like an alarm clock with one encased within a multi-colored agate. Bring this look to the kitchen with a stainless steel backsplash, or swap out run-of-the-mill hardware with mineral-inspired drawer pulls and knobs.-

* Shore thing. Homeowners, inspired by the calm, care-free attitude of coastal living are all about bringing the beach inside this season. Beach-inspired design elements are popping up throughout the home. Weathered and white-washed wood ceilings are a subtle but stunning on-trend addition - especially when finished with interior accents like decorative shells, drift wood furniture and marine-themed prints.

* Contrast in texture. Step aside Pantone, texture is spring's hottest new color. Homeowners are putting down their paintbrushes and adding interest with texture through high-gloss finishes, metallics, sequins and mirrors. A textured tile wall brings visual and tactile interest, especially when paired with contrasting high-gloss lacquer or low-gloss matte accessories.

* Visual punch. Reawaken the senses this spring by incorporating a striking visual element to the home. Multi-dimensional surface treatments in pearl, metallic and gold/silver combinations add panache as a coating used for hardwood, or can be applied to wallpaper, furniture or decorative accessories. And don't forget to look up - coffered ceilings bring a striking je ne sais quoi to any room.

* Manipulated metals. The versatility of manipulated metal makes it a great addition to any style home - from hand-crafted artisan to contemporary high gloss. Copper, pewter and nickel are getting in on the action and can be styled in a variety of ways, including hammered metal sink basins, tin-look ceiling tiles, antiqued copper light fixtures and brushed stainless steel cabinet hardware.

Source: http://www.armstrong.com/residential-ceilings.

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Word of the Day

February 11, 2014 7:42 pm

Market value. Generally accepted as the highest price that a ready, willing, and able buyer will pay and the lowest price a ready, willing, and able seller will accept for a property.

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Q: Can You Negotiate the Price of a New Home?

February 11, 2014 7:42 pm

A: In real estate, almost everything is negotiable, so it is certainly worth a try. Now, this does not mean the builder will fall down and roll over. It is very common for builders to claim that their prices are based on fixed construction costs. Perhaps, but timing is everything.

A builder is more likely to be flexible on price at the very beginning and end of a project. Early on, most developers want to move people in quickly so the project builds momentum. In the end, they may be more inclined to accept lower offers when only a few units are left.

If you are unable to negotiate on price, negotiate for a better lot location or amenities, such as a carpet upgrade or light fixtures. A developer will rarely pass up a deal over a few hundred dollars' worth of carpeting. 

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Misconceptions Exposed - Multivitamins and Nutritional Supplements

February 10, 2014 3:39 pm

(BPT)—How often do you eat a cup of sautéed spinach? How about three servings of fatty fish, like salmon, per week? Probably not very often, but those are examples of foods and portions that are packed with the recommended amounts of essential nutrients. Research shows that Americans aren't making the nutrition grade and, therefore, can lack important vitamins and minerals like folic acid, vitamin E, vitamin K and even vitamin C.

"Even if you follow a healthy diet, a busy lifestyle can make it difficult to obtain the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals from food alone," says Elizabeth Somer, a leading registered dietician and author of several books, including "The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals."

Data on dietary intake from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which used the USDA's Healthy Eating Index to compare what people say they eat to recommended dietary guidelines, found that children and adults scored 56 points out of a possible 100 (equivalent to an "F" grade), while seniors fared only slightly better at 65 points (equivalent to a "D" grade). The American Heart Association agreed with those findings in its 2013 report on heart disease and stroke, concluding that poor diet and lack of exercise are two of the main factors contributing to the high prevalence of heart disease in the U.S.

One easy way to maintain good nutrition is to enhance your diet with supplements; however, the frequency of new studies combined with the staggering number of supplements available makes it increasingly confusing to know what's right.

Somer puts nutrition news in context, provides the facts for common misconceptions and offers realistic tips to meet daily nutrition needs:

Misconception 1: It's realistic to obtain all essential nutrients from food.

Even experienced nutritionists have a hard time designing a diet that provides all the essential nutrients for one day and busy Americans often struggle to follow a highly regimented diet. That's not to say it's impossible but the best approach is to focus on eating nutrient-rich foods as much as possible—like dark leafy greens (good source of lutein for eye health), colorful fruits, whole grains, healthy proteins and fats (such as salmon, which is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA)—and fill gaps in nutrition with a daily multivitamin. "Another supplement I always recommend is fish oil, or a vegetarian source from algae, because DHA and EPA benefit eye, heart and brain health," says Somer.

Misconception 2: Multivitamins have no health benefits.

Although recent studies report that vitamin and mineral supplements do not lower one's risk of heart disease or cancer, these supplements are still proven to be beneficial to one's health. "If a study found that people who drank water had no lower risk for dementia, would you stop drinking water?" asks Somer. "Of course not, because water, like essential vitamins and minerals, is crucial to health and there is no controversy over its importance for human nutrition."

Misconception 3: Multivitamins are a waste of money.

Multivitamins are a relatively inexpensive tool to achieve proper nutrition. "No reputable health expert will argue that supplements can or should replace a good diet and a healthy lifestyle," says Somer. "However, multivitamins and nutritional supplements are one factor in a pattern of living that is known to maintain overall well-being. Think of multivitamins as an insurance policy for optimal nutrition - they're meant to supplement, not replace, a healthy diet."

Source: www.vitaminsinmotion.com.

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Five Things to Buy in February

February 10, 2014 3:39 pm

February is a big month for flowers and candy—both of which are available at bargain prices after St. Valentine/s Day has passed. But, according to the consumer watchdogs at dailyfinance.com, there are at least five other things you can buy cheaply this month that will save you substantial dollars.

Look for February savings on:
Boats – This is the heart of the traditional winter boat sale season. It’s a good time to find bargains at marinas and boat shows and, if you want a gently used boat, from private owners who know they are competing for buyers. In either case, do your homework first an

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