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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

New Book Helps First-Time Buyers Find Their ‘Just Right Home

April 18, 2013 5:14 pm

I recently made the acquaintance of Marianne Cusato (mariannecusato.com) after she was named one of the most influential people in the home-building industry by Builder magazine.

Cusato first came to fame for her work on Katrina Cottages, the 308-square-foot kit homes that provided shelter to flood victims in the Gulf. In 2012, Cusato was voted one of the 30 Most Influential Women in the Housing Economy by HousingWire Magazine.

In her new book, “The Just Right Home,” Cusato is not only reaching out to buyers and renters - she wants to help housing experts rethink the way they design, build, sell, and resell real estate, as well as gain an edge on their competition.

Cusato's book leads you through every step of choosing a home - from the broad strokes, such as city vs. suburb and buy vs. rent, to specific details of energy use and building materials.

“The Just Right Home” helps readers understand what they want in a home and what they need by showing:

  • Why proximity - to work, to stores, to schools - trumps location, and what the difference means
  • Why a property’s live-in value is greater than its resale value
  • How to identify and assess the big three variables: function, cost, delight
  • How to get a realistic grip on budget, including factoring in maintenance costs
  • How to plan for future needs - children moving out, a parent moving in, or just growing old in a home
  • Why all square feet are not created equal
  • The ins and outs of zoning, covenants, homeowners associations
  • The five elements to look for when walking through a property

Moving today means more than changing addresses; it is an opportunity to assess how one really wants to live and to truly understand how a home is tied to a job, family, health, and personal finances.

While there is no one handbook for those going through a move, relocation or new home experience for the first time, Cusato's latest book appears to be packed with advice - maybe give it a read.
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A Season-to-Season Look at Your Roof

April 18, 2013 5:14 pm

(BPT) - From intense heat to extreme snow, your roof protects your house from the elements all year long. When is the last time you checked to make sure your roof was in good shape? No matter what the seasons are like in your area, now is the time to begin preparation for extreme weather by giving your roof a second look.-

"Regardless of your area's climate, it is imperative that your roof stays up-to-date so that it can protect your home efficiently," says Aaron Phillips, corporate director of technical systems for TAMKO Building Products, Inc.

Time-consuming roof projects can be a nuisance and a stress to homeowners. But, by staying on top of repairs, a roof will stay well maintained.

Spring

Spring brings warmer temperatures, green grass and flowers, but it also brings spring rain. While spring rain may be great for your garden, it can severely damage your home if your roof is out of shape.

Have your roof professionally inspected for any problems winter storms may have caused. Finding and fixing leaks is important so that the rainwater does not drip into your attic. Fixing leaks early will help you avoid problems later.-

Water from spring rain needs to have access to easy drainage so it does not saturate your roof. Check your gutters for leaks and clean out leaves and debris that winter has left behind.

Summer

When the temperatures start to rise, it is important to assure that your roof can breathe. The area underneath your roof needs access to cooler air so that the warm, expanding air can escape. Allowing the warm air to escape can help the home maintain a comfortable temperature without overworking your air conditioning unit. When you consider how hot the temperature can get inside your attic, it is easy to see why proper ventilation is so important.

It is important to inspect your ventilation system, both inside and out. Ensure that nothing could block the escape of air, such as insulation or debris, and look for signs of wear that indicate you need to update your ventilation system. Under-ventilated attic space can lead to higher cooling costs and accelerate the aging of shingles.

Fall

As the summer heat starts to break and the kids go back to school, fall provides the perfect time to ensure that your home is protected for winter. If your roofing system is not up to standard, it may be time for new shingles. Shingles provide great protection for your home, but like everything else, reinforcing them with back-up makes them stronger.-

Before having your new shingles installed, consider reinforcing your roof with an extra layer of protection. TAMKO carries a line of underlayments that help give your roof an extra layer of protection against rain and snow.

Your roof makes up around 50 percent of your home's exterior. Something that is such a large part of your home and provides protection to your family and your belongings should be well maintained. By spreading your roof checkups throughout the seasons, you can ensure that your roof is always in the best shape possible. A well-kept roof means a happy house.
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Figuring out Finances after Divorce

April 18, 2013 5:14 pm

Divorces can be messy. Emotionally, spiritually and financially. If your partner handled the finances, then you can be left clueless. Budgets and bills can be overwhelming if you’ve never had to take them on before. Or, maybe it’s not the new responsibilities, but the divorce itself is cleaning out your savings. Alicia Klat a contributor to SupportInASplit.com offers four ways to help yourself, or a friend in need, find financial empowerment and the happiness that comes with it.

Break it up. Approach one element of finances at a time or set a time limit and work in 10-minute chunks. Removing the pressure to “do it all” in one sitting will help ease anxiety.

Remain positive. Focus on the fact that you are taking action. Positive association around money objectives will reinforce a good energy.

Team up. You can’t do it all. If you’re feeling fluster, then ask for help. Know a financially literate friend? Make a date to review paperwork together.

Source: Supportinasplit.com.
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Q: What Causes a Foreclosure?

April 18, 2013 5:14 pm

Q: What Causes a Foreclosure?

A: A lender decides to foreclosure, or repossess, a property when the owner fails to pay the mortgage. Unfortunately, thousands of homes end up in foreclosure every year.

Many people lose their homes due to job loss, credit problems, divorce, unexpected expenses, and during periods of economic instability.

Failure to pay property taxes may also cause a homeowner to lose his home. Trouble can also arise when owners neglect to pay local water bills and home insurance premiums.
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Word of the Day

April 18, 2013 5:14 pm

Undivided interest. Ownership by two or more persons that gives each the right to use the entire property.
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Nutrition Tips for Busy Lifestyles

April 17, 2013 7:10 pm

(Family Features)—While it’s important to maintain a regular health and wellness regimen, busy schedules and last minute commitments can sometimes send us off track. Many Americans may try to maintain a balanced diet but continue to fall short on valuable key nutrients necessary for a healthy body.  


In fact, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, the overall quality of the American diet gets a failing grade. According to the Healthy Eating Index, adults (19+ years) score just 50 out of 100 on the quality of their diets.


While hectic lifestyles may play a role in this failing grade, registered dietitian and best-selling author, Dave Grotto has a few simple and effective tips to maintain proper nutrition even when time is tight.


Eat nutrient-filled meals. Set aside five minutes to pack a healthy lunch before you head to work each day. Prepare meals such as a salad with grilled chicken or a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread – healthy options that provide a combination of protein and fiber to give you sustained energy throughout the day. “It’s vital that we find ways to get the nutrients our bodies need and eating well-balanced meals can do just that,” says Grotto.


Take your vitamins. In addition to proper food choices, quality dietary supplements can be helpful to fill nutrient gaps.


Stay active and enjoy the sunshine. Even if it is minimal, find time to move each day while you’re at work; take the stairs instead of the elevator or go for a ten minute walk around the block. An added benefit of being outdoors, even for a short amount of time, is the exposure to sunlight, which helps skin produce vitamin D3. Unfortunately, many food sources do not provide nearly enough vitamin D to meet dietary recommendations. Grotto recommends a vitamin supplement.


Don’t forget to take time for yourself. Rest and relaxation can help to rejuvenate your mind, and is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Not only does Grotto recommend getting six to eight hours of sleep a night, he also suggests keeping to the same bedtime each night. Maintaining such a simple routine can really do the body good.


Source: www.naturemade.com and www.davegrotto.com.
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Staying at the Top of your Game

April 17, 2013 7:10 pm

(BPT)—We feel our best when we do our best. At the top of our game is where we all want to be. This is as true in the workplace as it is on the basketball court. But to stay at the top of your game at work and in life, you need to stay primed - ready for that next big play. It requires staying alert; keeping your skills sharp; and hearing your best. That's right - hearing your best.

Listening doesn't typically come to mind as a highly coveted job skill. But the truth is, listening is one of the top skills employers look for in those being promoted, according to the International Listening Association. Both business practitioners and academics identify listening as one of the most important skills for an effective professional.-Individual performance in an organization directly relates to listening ability or perceived listening effectiveness. And good listening skills are even tied to effective leadership.

So if being at the top of your game - especially on the job - is what you're after, pay attention to your hearing. Hearing your best is the first step to good listening skills. And good listening skills help pave the way to success.

For those with hearing loss: Be encouraged. Today's modern, sleek, and virtually invisible hearing aids can help the vast majority of people with hearing loss. In fact, the days of letting unaddressed hearing loss stand in your way are long gone - and good riddance to them! Hearing aids, other forms of amplification, and even modest workspace accommodations enable almost everyone to hear their best so they can do well on the job. Today's hearing aids are digital, wireless, and can be as discreet or as stylized as you choose. They allow you to hear from all directions and in all sorts of sound environments so you can more easily discern what people are saying.

So whether you're a mechanic, a plumber, a nurse, a teacher, a C-suite executive, a police officer, a customer service representative, an attorney, or in any line of work, there are hearing-aid technologies and other approaches to dealing with hearing loss that can help. And remember: You are not alone. Roughly 60 percent of Americans with hearing loss are in the workforce overcoming the very same challenges you are.

Research shows that hearing aids really do help. A study by the Better Hearing Institute found that using hearing aids reduced the risk of income loss by 90-to-100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65-to-77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss. What's more, people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are nearly twice as likely to be employed as their peers who do not use hearing aids. And eight out of 10 hearing aid users say they're satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids. From how they feel about themselves to positive changes in their work lives, relationships and other social interactions, hearing aid users are benefiting from today's technology.

Face it. You've got too much game in you to slow down now. So play at the top of your game. Stay at the top of your game. Make an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional and learn how you can hear your best today.

Source: www.BetterHearing.org
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Things to Know If Divorce Is Forcing Family Relocation

April 17, 2013 7:10 pm

I know from experience that disruption in routine and residence are two changes that come with any divorce.  For children of divorcing parents this shift in schedule can be especially stressful if not managed properly according to the experts at Connecticut Collaborative Divorce Group (CCDG).


CCDG is comprised of attorneys, financial and mental health professionals to facilitate an amicable termination of a marriage. Robert Fried, one of those attorneys says, “When it comes to moving, it is very important that both parents be on the same page when relocating children.


Attorneys and psychologists alike recommend moving during a long holiday break such as summer. It allows for an easier transition and time to meet new friends in the neighborhood.


If you can't wait until summer or other big break, it is helpful to try to do as much planning as possible. Include the kids in some decision making about how the move might go.  


For example, do they want to have a friend help them unpack their room or pick out some accessories? Do they want to stay with a friend during the day you actually move out of the old home?


Getting them involved in re-doing their bedroom is often very helpful. It is important for parents to stress the positives about the move, whenever possible.


CCDG Psychologist Dr. Elaine Ducharme also points out that, “It is generally a good idea to have the children out of the house if one parent is moving out first. It is really upsetting for children to see a parent moving out."


Moving to a new school district can also be tough for many children. Therefore, it is really helpful to go to the school ahead of time for a tour and to meet the principal, teacher, counselor whenever possible.


They can be instrumental in pairing your child up with a "buddy.”


“Most children, especially, the younger ones, do well once they have a friend. Middle school and high school can be more difficult because of the cliques that form,” says Dr. Ducharme.  “Moving to a new school is easier at a time when everyone will be new to the school, such as the beginning of middle school or high school.”


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Word of the Day

April 17, 2013 7:10 pm

Urban renewal.  The acquisition of run-down city areas for purposes of redevelopment.
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Q: Where Can I Find Foreclosure Properties?

April 17, 2013 7:10 pm

A: Look in the legal notices section of your local newspaper. A notice is also usually posted on the property itself and somewhere in the city where the sale will take place.

However, real estate agents are the best source for information about foreclosures before they begin. Often a property will be listed and the agent will know if it is approaching foreclosure. Perhaps the best way to get the information is to have your agent put the word out that you are looking for properties with pending foreclosures.

Another source can be the bank or financial institution that holds the mortgage. Of course, they generally will not give you the names of those who are facing foreclosure, but they may give the property owner your card or phone number.

Buying foreclosures is not easy. Savvy investors are highly skilled at nabbing these properties.  Inexperienced buyers may find themselves surrounded by pretty stiff competition. They will need to get as much information as possible, including a "foreclosure inspection report" and an appraisal from the lender.


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