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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
Fax: 267-354-6800
email: tom@tomskiffington.com
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Tom's Blog

Word of the Day

September 24, 2013 6:00 pm

Redlining. Practice of refusing to make loans in certain neighborhoods. Also applies to insurance companies that refuse to offer policies in certain neighborhoods.

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Q: What's the Best Way to Negotiate Price?

September 24, 2013 6:00 pm

A: Be patient, know your home’s worth, adopt a positive attitude, and do not let emotions – anger, pride, greed, or prejudice – get in the way of negotiating the best deal.

Your home obviously means a lot to you, but you have already made the decision to move on, so begin to think of your home as “the house” or “the condo,” instead of “my home.”  

When reasonable offers come along, take them seriously.  You can always counter any offer made by the buyer that comes near your asking price.  Do not spoil a good deal over a few hundred dollars.

 

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Tips to Tackle a Wallpaper Installation Project

September 23, 2013 5:54 pm

Let's getting into a few important installation tips for homeowners ready to "hit the wall" with a DIY wallpaper project this fall.

The folks at Seabrook Wallpaper publish a very easy-to-follow, but lengthy installation guide at their website, and another great resource - wallpaperdirect.com - provides video and illustrations can be found here.

If you really want to get creative with wallpaper, you can check out these cool ideas from a recent item from Home-Dzine:

Wallpaper staircase - If you are looking for ways to add interest to a plain staircase, here's an easy way to customize a staircase and make it a feature in the home.

Cover the vertical board of each stair with wallpaper. Follow the instructions on the wallpaper paste package to ensure the paper is well stuck down.

Wallpaper tabletop - It's so easy to dress up a table top, sideboard, coffee table or cabinet with pieces of wallpaper. Using wallpaper is an affordable way to add design that can be changed to suit the occasion.  Simply cut the paper to size and lay it across the top of the table. If you plan to change it regularly, do not stick it down. Place a sheet of glass over the top in order to protect the paper and table.

Wallpaper a closet or cupboard - What about using colorful wallpaper to add interest to a closet or built-in wardrobe, or even a bathroom cabinet.

Just attach wallpaper cut to the correct size to the back of the cabinet. Use bold, contrasting paper to make the cabinet or cupboard stand out in the room.

Wallpaper bookcase - Create an instant feature by adding wallpaper to the back of a bookcase or wall cabinet. Choose a pattern and color that blends well with decor in the room but allows the bookcase to stand out and shine.

With all the attention being paid to hot new trends in wallpapering, maybe it's time to plan a DIY project to convert a wall, a room, or an entire interior this fall or winter.

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8 Quick Fixes for a Tired Bathroom

September 23, 2013 5:54 pm

Remodeling a home can be expensive and exhausting. But you can breathe new life into tired rooms with just a small budget, a little sweat equity, and a healthy imagination.

California decorating consultant Gina Fulton suggests eight quick fixes to freshen the look and increase the functionality of an old, drab bathroom:

New paint – Choose a color that brightens the space and shines with personality. Paint one wall in a bold shade. Or wallpaper one – or all four walls – in a whimsical or elegant design that says something about you.

Vanity – Choose a new one if you can afford it – or paint the existing vanity in a bold or pastel color that offsets or complements the color of the walls.

Drawer pulls and towel racks – The bathroom is a small space, so you may want to splurge on unique hardware that adds a touch of class.

Sinks or faucets – If it’s been a while since you’ve perused the hardware aisle, you may be amazed at the wide variety of affordable sinks and faucets. Consider an art-glass basin or a high-arcing faucet that adds fresh perspective to the bath.

Lighting and mirrors – Replace a small mirror with a larger one. Surround it with dressing-room lights. Or frame it to match or contrast the walls.

Flooring – Install inexpensive tile, hardwood or bamboo flooring that updates and complements your new design.

Artwork – Choose a theme – perhaps impressionist prints, French boudoir prints, or even a series of framed family vacation photos. Keep visual interest in mind, but be sure to use surfaces that won’t suffer from steamy air.

New towels and shower curtain – Whip up a sink skirt for a stand-alone sink. Embellished towels and coordinating shower curtain can pull your new design scheme together and enhance the updated look.

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Three Easy Tips to Create a More Natural Bedroom

September 23, 2013 5:54 pm

BPT—The formerly "fringe" back-to-nature movement has become mainstream in America and nowhere is the desire for a more natural approach to living more prevalent than in our homes. From organically grown fruits and vegetables to VOC-free paint choices, the trend is toward fewer additives, synthetics and chemicals.

But for all the farmers market-purchased food in the kitchen and goat milk soaps in the bathroom, one room that has been neglected in the quest for a more natural home is the bedroom. However, it doesn't take very much to make the bedroom more natural or "green." Here are three easy and effective tips:

Choose natural bedding materials

Down and feathers come from nature, are biodegradable and renewable; consequently they have the lowest carbon footprint of any bedding fill material. Thirty-six percent of U.S. adults use down and feather bedding precisely because it is eco-friendly, according to a recently completed Harris Survey commissioned by the American Down and Feather Council (ADFC).

Being a natural insulator, down helps regulate body heat for an optimal sleeping experience, which allows homeowners to turn down the thermostat at night and save on heating costs. The survey found that 55 percent of U.S. adults who use down and feather bedding have chosen it precisely for its natural warmth.

Add fresh plants and flowers to your decor

Live plants act as natural air filters and some plants - spider plants, Boston ferns, rubber plants and palm trees - are particularly effective absorbers of chemical pollutants emitted from carpets, furniture and electronic equipment. Adding fresh flowers and plants to your bedroom helps with the natural cycle of carbon dioxide and oxygen, improving the overall air quality in your bedroom.

Take advantage of nature's best heater: the sun

In the cold winter months, open blinds, draperies, and shutters during the day to let solar energy warm and brighten your room naturally. In the hot summer months, be sure to do the opposite, and close your window coverings to prevent your bedroom from overheating and causing air conditioning units or fans to work harder, thus using more energy.

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Word of the Day

September 23, 2013 5:54 pm

Annual percentage rate (APR).  Combines the interest rate with other loan costs, such as points and loan fees, into a single figure that shows the true annual cost of borrowing.

 

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Q: How Bad Is a Previous Foreclosure on Credit?

September 23, 2013 5:54 pm

A: Unfortunately, it is a pretty bad blemish.  A property foreclosure is one of the most damaging events in a borrower's credit record. In terms of the effect on your credit history, a deed in lieu of foreclosure – where you voluntarily “give back” your property to the lender – or a short sale – when the lender agrees to write off a portion of the loan that is higher than the value of the home – is not as adverse as a forced foreclosure.

 
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10 Ways to Control Home Insurance Costs

September 20, 2013 7:24 pm

Going without home insurance is risky, so most of us bite the bullet and pay the premium. But
there are ways to save on what you pay.

Forbes business experts suggest ten ways to ensure you have optimal coverage with the right
risk/cost balance:

●Increase deductibles – Insurance isn't meant to cover the small stuff. Set deductibles
as high as you can afford. For example, a $150,000 house could have a $1,500 or 1
percent deductible.
●Make improvements - Install a backup generator, a whole house surge protector, and
smoke/CO2 detectors. Refit roof trusses with strapping.
●Opt for hip roofs - Hip roofs offer the most slippery shape in high-wind settings or
storms. You don't want roof areas that can catch the wind and are prone to damage.
●Locate intelligently – Stay away from flood-prone areas. In high wind areas, look for
brick or stone houses. In quake-prone areas, look for wooden frame houses. Locate in
communities with professional fire departments. Have your home inspected before you
purchase.
●Don't make small claims – Frequent claims can drive up rates. Don't sweat the small
stuff. Insurance is meant to protect you from catastrophic loss.
●Reinforce your home – Install storm shutters, reinforce the roof, retrofit older homes for
earthquake resistance, and modernize heating, plumbing, and electrical to reduce risk
of fire and water damage.
●Improve home security – Add smoke detectors, deadbolts and burglar alarms or other
security systems.
●Combine policies with one insurer – Most insurance companies offer discounts for
multiple policy households. Combine home and auto insurance. Then buy an umbrella
liability policy over both to optimize cost.
●Eliminate unnecessary coverage – Don't buy coverage you don't need: earthquake
coverage is unnecessary in most zones; don't schedule jewelry if it's inexpensive, etc.
●Talk to your agent about discounts – Sometimes there is a discount for good drivers,
or retirees, or people with good credit ratings.
 

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Heads Up: Research before Retail Renting-to-Own

September 20, 2013 7:24 pm

I know the temptation of wanting something now, even if the cost for that item does not equate with the amount of disposable cash on hand. With so many individuals opting to sign up for 'rent-to-own' programs, this advice from the Better Business Bureau is particularly valuable.

The BBB says rent-to-own stores are popular alternatives to using a credit card, for consumers with a poor credit history or people who don’t want to put down a deposit on merchandise. Today, there are 47 states with legislation that spells out consumers’ rights when engaging in a rent-to-own contract.  

Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receive complaints about rent-to-own stores that do not adequately explain their contracts, delivery of used or damaged goods, and illegal collection practices.

These include having reps show up at consumers’ front doors if a payment is late, placing harassing telephone calls and threatening to call the renter’s employer to report a late or missed payment.

Better Business Bureau recommends consumers take the following precautions before entering into a rent-to-own lease:

  • Take the contract home – Read all terms and conditions carefully before signing.  Determine what fees may be associated with the transaction, who is responsible for repairs or maintenance and what happens after a late or missed payment.
  • Research the company – Visit www.bbb.org to see what other consumers’ experience has been like, the volume of complaints and how they were resolved.
  • Check the law – The Association of Progressive Rental Organizations website, www.rtohq.org, provides links to state laws governing rent-to-own provisions.
  • Consider alternatives – See if you qualify for a short-term loan, retailer financing or a layaway plan. Look for deals on display models and consider buying the item at a garage sale, through a classified ad or at a second-hand store, though this option gives no warranty or maintenance agreement.
  • Keep in mind that the longer the lease, the more you will pay for the item, and like any other purchase, shop around first to compare prices.

 

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Busy Schedule? Tips for Staying Healthy When Things Get Hectic

September 20, 2013 7:24 pm

(Family Features)--Life can sometimes feel a little too jam-packed with work, errands, carpools, cooking dinner and more. When that happens, healthy habits often fall by the wayside in favor of convenience. Fast food can replace home-cooked meals and exercise makes way for the television.

Registered dietitians and authors Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, who are also known as "The Nutrition Twins," have advice for feeling good and staying healthy despite a busy schedule.

Drink up: People often mistake thirst for hunger, prompting them to overeat. Keep seltzer, iced green tea or water with lime in the fridge. The next time you want a nosh between meals, drink a glass first and see what happens.

Sneak in exercise: If it feels like too much of a task to get to the gym each day, sneak in exercise wherever you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work or push your kids on the swings for an arm workout. Even if you walk around the neighborhood for 15 minutes, it counts. Just get moving!

Bite into some energy: You might think a sugary candy bar from the office vending machine will perk you up, but a healthy, balanced snack will keep you on your toes longer. Make sure your snack has a quality, high-fiber carbohydrate, like fresh fruit, oatmeal or whole-grain crispbread, for long-lasting energy and a lean protein, such as a hardboiled egg or Greek yogurt, to help you feel satisfied. The two will work together to keep your energy up and your desire to visit the snack machine down.

Sleep tight: Sleep deprivation slows your metabolism down and negatively affects your immune system. When you're busy, that's the last thing you need. Set yourself a bedtime that's eight hours before you have to wake up and start getting ready for bed 30 minutes prior to that. The last step is tough, but don't bring your phone or computer to bed with you.


Source: www.Vitamints.com.

 
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