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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

Get Some Sleep, Your Health Depends on It

July 16, 2013 3:34 pm

Sure, we all know a good night sleep helps us feel rested. But did you know sleep is as important to disease prevention and diet and exercise?  According to  Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D., a sleep medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic and Director of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, many adults fail to get the recommended amount of sleep—some because they struggle with sleep problems like insomnia and some because they simply don’t make sleep a priority.

It’s time for that to change, Dr. Morgenthaler says. “Sleep should really be thought of as part of a three-legged table of health,” he explains. “One [leg] is good exercise, one is good diet and the other is good sleep, and they’re all equally important.”

More than one-quarter of the U.S. population experience sleep problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and an estimated 40 million people suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

A sampling of people interviewed for Honor Thy Sleep get anywhere from 2 to 8 hours of sleep a night. For people on the lower end of that range, it’s simply not enough sleep, Dr. Morgenthaler says. “To feel well-rested and to avoid adverse health consequences, the average adult needs between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night,” he explains.

For people suffering from a diagnosable sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, medical treatment can help solve sleeping problems. But for many people, poor sleep is simply the result of stress or bad bedtime habits. Making a few simple nighttime changes can lead to better sleep and better health.

Dr. Morgenthaler offers these practical tips for better sleep:

  • Make time for sleep. Adults should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night; teens need about 9 hours of sleep; school-age children require 10 to 11 hours.
  • Get regular exercise. Research shows that people who exercise regularly report getting a good night’s sleep more often than non-exercisers. Even when they slept the same amount, exercisers reported better sleep.
  • Go screen-free at bedtime. The artificial light of screens on laptops, tablets, smartphones, e-readers, television, etc., can actually confuse the brain into thinking it’s earlier than it is. The brain then delays its normal release of melatonin, a hormone that causes sleepiness.

 

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Q: What Is a Lease Option?

July 16, 2013 3:34 pm

A: It is an agreement between a renter and a landlord in which the renter signs a lease with an option to purchase the property. The option only binds the seller; the tenant has a choice to make a purchase or not.

Lease options are common among buyers who would like to own a home but do not have enough money for the down payment and closing costs. A lease option may also be attractive to tenants who are working to improve bad credit before approaching a lender for a home loan.

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Security vs. Being Cool - Tips to Secure Your Window A/C Unit

July 16, 2013 3:34 pm

I was facing a dilemma recently about how to secure an air conditioner in a ground floor window. So the two following resources quickly filtered to the top.

Several law enforcement agencies across the country offer similar advice for securing your window units:

1) Install an air conditioner bracket to the outside of the unit so the bracket not only supports the air conditioner, but attaches to the bottom of the unit and the house.

2) Add a sliding window lock to each side of the window frame. Depending on the type, the locks are bolted or screwed in. They prevent burglars from sliding the window up and down.

3) Measure the length from the side of the unit to the wall. Purchase and attach a steel corner brace to each side of the air conditioner. Connect the other end to a secure section of the wall. Use screws or bolts to secure the brackets in place preventing thieves from pushing the air conditioner in or pulling it out.

4) Install a small window sensor alarm. Magnetic controls set above the air conditioner will go off if the unit is moved or the window is opened. The high-pitched noise will alert anyone in the home and likely scare the burglar away.

Ehow.com suggests burglar-proofing your ground floor window unit like this:

  • Drill a downward-slanting hole through the upper right corner of your bottom window's trim and into the trim of the upper window where they overlap; repeat on the left side. Insert a long nail or eyebolt in each hole. This locks the window in its current position so a burglar can't slide it up to pull the AC out.
  • Drill screws through sections of the AC frame that overlap the window trim to secure the unit in place.
  • Install steel window bars across the top and bottom of the unit's exterior. Attach the bars with two 5/16-by-3 inch lag screws on each side. Follow the installation instructions that accompany the security bars to ensure proper attachment and placement.
  • Attach a warning sticker noting an AC alarm system to the side of the unit, regardless of whether you actually have an alarm system.
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Tips to Save Money during a Road Trip

July 16, 2013 3:34 pm

(BPT)—Whether you're driving across the country on your annual family road trip or taking a weekend to enjoy the open road, there are plenty of ways to save on the cost of fuel. Here are some easy tips that will help you save money at the pump and stretch the fuel in your gas tank.

Prepare your vehicle. Regular service can spot problems that reduce gas mileage, such as a broken thermostat, low transmission fluid or even something as simple as a dirty air filter.

Prepare yourself. Select a route ahead of time and study it to know exactly where you're going, and where you'll make stops. ExxonMobil's Fuel Finder app includes real-time maps, driving directions and station information for nearly 10,000 Exxon and Mobil retail locations across the continental U.S.

Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving - speeding, rapid acceleration and quick braking - wastes gas and can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Use cruise control to stick to the speed limit on long, straight highways. Wind resistance increases exponentially with speed and your car will work a lot harder the faster you go.

Avoid the heat. When possible, try to get on the road early in the morning or later in the evening as cooler temperatures set in. Not only will it help you save on air-conditioning expenses, but air that is cooler is denser and can actually increase power and mileage.

Follow these simple driving tips and you'll see more savings that you can enjoy on your summer vacation. Let's hit the road.

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Make Long-Term Care Plans before They Are Needed

July 16, 2013 3:34 pm

(Family Features)—The best time to make decisions regarding long-term care is well before it's needed. An unexpected illness or injury may force you or a loved one into making hasty decisions.

Long-term care is a set of services and supports for people who are unable to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs are self-care activities, such as getting in and out of bed, walking, bathing, dressing, eating, and bowel and bladder management. About 70 percent of people turning 65 can expect to need some kind of long-term care services as they age. Experts encourage everyone over age 50 to take the time, while you have it, to research options and make important choices. Long-term care planning means developing a personal strategy now for how things should be handled later when you or a loved one is in need of care. Important considerations include the following:

Staying In Charge
An important part of long-term care planning is outlining how you would like things to be handled. Expressing preferences clearly about how any declines in ADLs should be handled, what financial resources are available, and who should provide needed care is a good way to retain control. All adults over age 18 should execute legal documents that appoint one or more individuals to make health care and financial decisions for them in the event they become unable to make decisions for themselves. Adults who lose the ability to make decisions before executing these documents must have the court system appoint someone to make decisions for them. An attorney can also prepare an advance care directive, which is a set of written instructions detailing what medical care you want or do not want.

Housing
Those who would prefer to stay at home for as long as possible should make a plan to do so, and consider making modifications as needed. Home modifications are often intended to allow maximum self-care, and to help avoid a fall. Avoiding a fall can help delay or avoid the need for long-term care. Typical modifications include widening doorways, adding wheelchair ramps, improving lighting, mounting stairway chair lifts, installing medical alert systems and adding handrails or safety grips. An important consideration for anyone planning to stay home is to ensure the bathroom can be used safely. Ideally, your residence should maximize your ability to continue performing ADLs, and help you avoid a fall.

Primary Care
Maintaining a good relationship with a primary care physician is key. Regular check-ups can lead to early diagnosis of any physical, mental or emotional decline. Be honest and open about symptoms, daily habits or changes in appetite. Be sure to have the primary care physician review all medications. Ongoing medication management is an important part of staying healthy and avoiding a fall.

Family Care
Unpaid family members are the most common source of long-term care help. But, they may not be able to provide all the care you need, or be there every hour of the day. If you intend to rely on family members for long-term care services be sure to involve them in your long-term care planning. Make sure they are willing and able to be caregivers for you.

Paid Care
As part of your long-term care plan, look into caregiving services in your area, including in-home care providers and elder daycare centers. Find out about elder shuttles, meals on wheels and other low-cost services offered in your community. Several types of housing come with support services for people who cannot fully take care of themselves due to aging and/or disability.

Public housing is available for low-to-moderate income elderly and persons with disabilities.

Assisted living homes are group living settings that offer housing in addition to assistance with ADLs and other services, such as meals. Generally, they do not provide medical care.

Continuing care retirement communities provide a range of housing options, including independent living units, assisted living and nursing homes, all on the same campus.

Nursing facilities, or nursing homes, are the most service-intensive housing option, providing skilled nursing services and therapies as needed.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the different types of facilities available in your area. Ask family and friends for any recommendations they may have and take advantage of information available on the Internet.

Source: www.longtermcare.gov.

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Word of the Day

July 16, 2013 3:34 pm

Value.  Market value or present worth.  To have value, a property must have utility, scarcity, effective demand, and transferability.

 

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Q: Is There Anything I Should Not Tell My Agent?

July 16, 2013 3:34 pm

A: Most definitely!  Never reveal the top dollar you are willing to pay for a home.  It will severely undercut your chance to negotiate the home price with the seller. While an agent may spend a lot of time showing you homes and sharing information, the reality is that she works for the seller, who ultimately pays each and every agent involved in helping to complete the home sale. The seller pays the agents in the form of a commission, a percentage of the proceeds from the home sale. The exception is hiring your own real estate professional, now commonly known as a buyer’s agent or a buyer’s broker.

 

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Tips to Simplify Your Kitchen Revamp

July 16, 2013 3:34 pm

PERKASIE, PA, Jul 16, 2013—Whether you're looking to sell your home, are trying to fix up a newly purchased one, or are simply aiming for your dream cooking space, redoing your kitchen is a lot of work. The kitchen has more appliances and fixtures than any other room in the house, and it takes a considerable amount of time, work, money and planning to power though a successful kitchen revamp. Below, Thomas Skiffington, Real Estate Professional of RE/MAX 440 & RE/MAX Central offers tips to simplify your kitchen remodel,

Appliances
It is tempting to discard existing appliances when you build new cabinets around them. Rethink the idea. If the appliances are workable, keep them – and save yourself from $1,000 to $5,000, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Fixtures
If possible, resist the urge to move your stove to the other side of the room, or swap the location of your sink. “Consider keeping the present location of major fixtures, appliances and utilities relative to the plumbing, gas and electrical outlets,” says Skiffington. Rearranging plumbing, wiring and jacks can be very expensive.

Cabinets
Refacing existing cabinets can reduce the cost of your kitchen remodel considerably and eliminate the need for new flooring, countertops and appliances. If you must get new cabinets, options such as spice racks and slide out wire baskets can be added later. Also, install cabinets without soffits to decrease labor cost; and avoid trim moldings, or use a simple trim. If you must have a new wood trim to match the new cabinets, order pre-finished trim to decrease labor cost; avoid having the painting or staining done on-site.

Stay Neutral

“If you're revamping your home for a sale, you probably want to choose neutral colors for fixtures, appliances and laminates,” says Skiffington.

Refinish the Floor
Depending on your home, Skiffington notes that you may be able to avoid the need for a new floor by sanding and refinishing a hardwood floor that may be underneath the existing vinyl flooring.

For more information on remodeling your home, please contact RE/MAX 440 & RE/MAX Central at tskiffington@remax440.com, 12154537653, or RE/MAX 440 & RE/MAX Central.

Tom Skiffington works with his team members on a daily basis to bring success to all his sellers and buyers in culminating closed transactions in the least amount of time at the best possible price. His philosophy -- "because excellent service is so important, my team of real estate specialists and the RE/MAX support staff assist me with each and every real estate transaction. From the minute you hire me as your Realtor, my partners help me to find you a new home or to sell your present home. My team is committed to provide you with the best service in the industry. Right through closing, we will work hard for you. To us, you are Number One!" Introducing Tom's Team Members -- Carol Copelin, Buyer Agent for the Skiffington Team. When you decide to purchase a home with the Skiffington Team, Carol will make sure you have all the necessary information to view and see homes as quickly as possible. She will also coordinate all the paperwork to make sure your offer is presented properly. Her expertise is extraordinary and you can expect courteous professional service. In her spare time, Carol enjoys reading a good book and traveling. Josh Moser, Listing Manager for the Skiffington Team. When you decide to put your home on the market, Josh will be there with you every step of the way helping you feel confident with the process and making decisions in this goal, a Hassle Free accomplishment. With Josh on your side you can't go wrong. His hobbies include reading, fitness and snowboarding. Tom also makes his moving truck available to clients -- Below are some of the awards Tom has achieved. Accomplishments CRS, GRI, CRB, ABR, E-Pro, CLHMS (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist), SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist), RECS (Real Estate Cyberspace Society) Inducted into the RE/MAX Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Chairman's Club Platinum Club 100% Club and various other awards Tom has consistently exceeded 150 transactions per year for the last several years Licensed in 1988 Continuing Education Certified ECOBroker Energy Advantage Certified ECOBroker Environmental Advantage Certified ECOBroker Green Market Advantage Areas of Specialization Tom specializes in representing buyers and sellers alike in both residential and commercial sales in Bucks, Montgomery and Lehigh Counties. Special Interests/Hobbies Tom's hobbies include computer technology and communications.
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Move to Nationwide Dynamic Building Codes Gaining Traction

July 14, 2013 3:01 am

I have been following developments related to new dynamic building codes, as a way of moving new home building and retrofitting toward peak energy efficiency practices.

The Buildings Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) recently released its 2012 Annual Report. With the creation of the National Energy Codes Collaborative, groups have ensured the future success of code adoption by maintaining strong lines of communication and coordination among the many entities working to advance dynamic building energy codes, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.

It took no fewer than eight organizations to create this informal coalition to ensure better coordination and communication by sharing technical resources, knowledge, and best practices.

From January 2012 to January 2013, the number of states adopting the 2009 standards for residential construction grew from 22 to 28. BCAP staff will be continuing efforts to add more 2009 code adoptions in 2013, while assisting several states that are considering adoption of the most recent 2012 codes.

BCAP will also continue to build its new strategic direction by working with its partners to create practical solutions addressing barriers to energy code adoption and compliance.  

Those 2013 initiatives include:

  • The application of energy codes in existing buildings;
  • Raising energy code compliance rates through outreach to design professionals, code officials, and consumers to shape collective and holistic efforts towards building energy efficiency;
  • Expanding collaborative and comprehensive partnerships with diverse stakeholders;
  • Sharing these visions and resources with a wider audience through OCEAN and showing that energy codes improve building energy efficiency when stakeholders move forward together.

By continuing to hone its means of identifying Energy Star homes and products, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed the transition to new, more rigorous requirements for homes to earn the Energy Star label.

Homes certified under the new requirements are at least 15 percent more efficient than those built to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), and include additional energy–saving features to deliver a performance advantage of up to 30 percent compared to typical new homes.

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Move to Nationwide Dynamic Building Codes Gaining Traction

July 14, 2013 3:01 am

I have been following developments related to new dynamic building codes, as a way of moving new home building and retrofitting toward peak energy efficiency practices.

The Buildings Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) recently released its 2012 Annual Report. With the creation of the National Energy Codes Collaborative, groups have ensured the future success of code adoption by maintaining strong lines of communication and coordination among the many entities working to advance dynamic building energy codes, according to the Alliance to Save Energy.

It took no fewer than eight organizations to create this informal coalition to ensure better coordination and communication by sharing technical resources, knowledge, and best practices.

From January 2012 to January 2013, the number of states adopting the 2009 standards for residential construction grew from 22 to 28. BCAP staff will be continuing efforts to add more 2009 code adoptions in 2013, while assisting several states that are considering adoption of the most recent 2012 codes.

BCAP will also continue to build its new strategic direction by working with its partners to create practical solutions addressing barriers to energy code adoption and compliance.  

Those 2013 initiatives include:

  • The application of energy codes in existing buildings;
  • Raising energy code compliance rates through outreach to design professionals, code officials, and consumers to shape collective and holistic efforts towards building energy efficiency;
  • Expanding collaborative and comprehensive partnerships with diverse stakeholders;
  • Sharing these visions and resources with a wider audience through OCEAN and showing that energy codes improve building energy efficiency when stakeholders move forward together.

By continuing to hone its means of identifying Energy Star homes and products, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed the transition to new, more rigorous requirements for homes to earn the Energy Star label.

Homes certified under the new requirements are at least 15 percent more efficient than those built to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), and include additional energy–saving features to deliver a performance advantage of up to 30 percent compared to typical new homes.

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Tom Skiffington - RE/MAX 440 - PERKASIE

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