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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

Top 10 Ways to Get Yourself Fired

April 5, 2013 5:56 pm

Short of a company shut-down, most workers believe they won’t be fired unless they are either grossly incompetent or they’ve taken cash out of the till. But the fact is, there are many kinds of workplace behavior that could land you out on the street.

Human Relations specialists at a college Career Day in California listed 10 workplace mistakes to avoid if you want to keep your hard-earned job:

  1. Lying on your resume – Truth matters, and most employers will do educational and background checks to corroborate the information you’ve provided. False claims about your degree or achievements will almost always lead to dismissal.
  2. Too much web surfing – Workplace computers can be monitored. Spending too many work hours surfing in cyberspace is a good way to find yourself unemployed.
  3. Indiscreet job hunting – Again, computers may be monitored, and that includes instant messages. If you’re in the job market, don’t send resumes or job applications to other employers from your workplace computer.
  4. Gossiping – Sometimes the walls really do have ears. Stay away from the rumor mill if you want to keep your job.
  5. Too many personal calls – There’s no such thing as privacy in the workplace. Employers frown on taking or making too many personal calls.
  6. Alienating co-workers – It’s the old ‘works and plays well with others.’ Don’t get yourself a rep for being detached or unpleasant around other employees.
  7. Forgetting to check your work – Double-check your facts and figures every single time. Too many mistakes will likely get you fired.
  8. Not taking responsibility – Pointing fingers never gets you points. When mistakes happen, take responsibility for any error that may have been yours.
  9. Getting involved with the boss – Whether it’s romantic involvement or providing too much sympathetic ear, the result is often somebody leaving the company – and it’s more likely to be you than the boss.
  10. Drinking or drugs on the job – It should be obvious: Sobriety on any job is mandatory.
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Word of the Day

April 5, 2013 5:56 pm

Nonconforming use. Use of property that is permitted to continue after a zoning ordinance prohibiting it has been passed.
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Q: What Does a Home Inspector Do?

April 5, 2013 5:56 pm

A: A home inspector is a paid professional – often a contractor or an engineer – who checks the safety of a home. Home inspectors search for defects or other problems that could become your worst nightmare later on. They focus particularly on the home’s structure, construction, and mechanical systems.

It is not the inspector’s job to determine whether you are getting good value for your money. He does not establish value, only whether the home might collapse in a storm or if the roof might cave in.

A home inspection typically takes place after a purchase contract between the buyer and seller has been signed.
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Sweet Tips for Sweet Treats

April 5, 2013 5:56 pm

(Family Features)—You might have a favorite cookie or brownie recipe—but did you know you could make it even better by adding a simple, familiar ingredient? With a few expert tips from Buddy Valastro, author and star of TLC's "Cake Boss," you can take your sweet treats from good to great in no time.

Start with Quality Ingredients -- When you start with better ingredients, you end up with a better cookie or brownie. Use real butter, high-quality vanilla and great tasting chocolate. Here, Buddy shares some of his favorite recipes that use M&M'S candies to add an extra special touch to family favorites -- making them even better.

Chill the Dough -- Leaving cookie dough in the refrigerator gives it more body and results in a fuller and better tasting cookie. Plan ahead so you can refrigerate your dough at least one hour -- or, even better, overnight.

Keep It Uniform -- Use a small ice cream scoop to keep your cookies the same size. This not only helps them look professional, but bake up evenly and consistently.

Pans Matter -- Bake cookies on light-colored, non-insulated cookie sheets without sides. Metal pans will cook brownies faster than glass pans, which means cooking times will vary. Start checking your brownies early to test if they're ready and prevent over baking.

Source: www.facebook.com/mms
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Simple Steps for Smart Spending

April 5, 2013 5:56 pm

(Family Features)—These days, people are thinking more about how to make smarter decisions with their spending. In fact, simple spending cut-backs can mean a huge difference to your family's bank account. Get back to the basics of what you really need, and you'll eliminate unnecessary spending and stress, while keeping more cash in your pocket.

Here are some easy tips to start you down the road to smarter spending:

Create a family spending plan. Start a weekly budget meeting with your family to make everyone aware of spending habits. Be sure to keep track of all transactions made throughout the week and prioritize necessities over luxuries. With families increasingly concerned with how they are spending, according to a recent Cricket Wireless survey, nearly two-thirds of Americans surveyed report paying bills as their highest priority and are using tax refunds to cover basic necessities.

Compare the rates. When reviewing monthly bills, compare the amounts you're paying with others. According to Cricket's survey, wireless phone plans, cable and electricity are considered the top most overpaid bills by consumers. Look for online comparative tools that can help evaluate the advantages between service providers. Consider easy ways to scale back spending on these items, such as going with a more flexible no-contract, prepaid wireless service that can be half the cost than contract carriers, or eliminate the number of movie channels subscribed to through your cable to curb spending and instead go with a lower cost digital movie subscription service.

Carpool with a buddy. Ask co-workers if they would be interested in carpooling with you. This will save you and your co-worker gas money, while also being environmentally friendly. Can't find a co-worker who lives in your area? Many online websites exist to link those interested in sharing rides per region.

Cut those coupons. It may sound old fashioned, but you can score great deals on food and home goods when you dust off those scissors. Clip through your local Sunday newspaper, or search online. Many online sites offer extreme discounts on meals, gifts and services specific to your locale.

Eat economically. If you love eating out on a regular basis, plan to eat breakfast at home. Save your hard-earned cash for leisurely lunches and dinners where you can unwind with family and friends. This trick will lighten the load on your pocketbook, which is always easier to digest.

Source: www.mycricket.com
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5 Fast Fixes for a Summer-Ready Car

April 5, 2013 5:56 pm

(BPT)—With summer-just around the corner, it's time to get-your car-in tip-top shape to withstand hot days and long road trips. Summer driving requires your car to run differently, some adjustments and inspections are important to ensure your vehicle lasts season to season. Follow these five fast fixes and inspections to cruise through the summer and avoid roadside headaches.

Tire care

Tires perform differently in different weather conditions, so as the weather changes, it's important to check tire pressure and tire tread. To check tire tread, see if the built-in "wear bars" are visible. These are narrow strips of rubber across the tires that appear when the tread is worn down to one-sixteenth of an inch. If you can see wear bars, your tires need to be replaced.

Now that you've put in the effort to make your tires safe, make them shine. The Tire Shine Coating from Dupli-Color will keep your tires looking like new all season long. It's easy to apply and features Shine-Lasttechnology. Its formula lasts five times longer than silicone-based tire dressings, so tires will keep their shine through rain and other harsh elements. Simply spray it on your tires and hit the open road in style.

De-winterize your car
De-winterizing your car is easy and affordable. First, check all the fluid levels - coolant, transmission, differential, power steering and brake fluid - to make sure there aren't any leaks. It's also a good idea to change the oil between seasons, as oil gets thick and collects condensation if it sits in the engine all winter.

It's also important to thoroughly clean the-undercarriage-of your car after a long winter, especially if you live in a snowy climate. To avoid spending extra money on detailing, clean the undercarriage yourself using a basic water hose or high-pressure cleaning system. In just a few minutes, you can ensure your vehicle is ready for the new road conditions and help you avoid any unnecessary issues.

Paint protection
Winter can be tough on a car's exterior and sunshine will reveal every nick, chip and scratch in your vehicle's paint. Restoring your ride's original factory finish takes only minutes with the easy-to-apply Dupli-Color ScratchFix 2 in 1. This innovative touch-up paint product is available in hundreds of Exact-Match colors for domestic and imported vehicles.

Simply use your vehicle's make, model and year to find your guaranteed matching color code, and use one of the two applicators to fix any scrapes or nicks in no time. With a roller ball tip for precision and a tapered brush for full coverage, ScratchFix 2 in 1 will not only make your car look great, it will also protect the damaged surface from rusting and becoming a big, expensive problem.

Check the AC
Your air conditioning system will be working overtime in the summer, so take time to test it to make sure it's working properly sooner, rather than later. Since the vehicle's refrigerant is under high pressure and harmful to the atmosphere, it's best to leave any inspection or maintenance to a qualified professional. Mechanics can easily trap and recycle used refrigerant with the proper tools, and you can drive off with confidence you'll stay cool all summer.

Inspect hoses and belts
The key to comfortable, safe summer driving is keeping the engine cool, and hoses and belts play a huge part in helping your engine run properly. Hoses pump coolant to and from the engine block, and belts run the fan that cools the system further. If the hoses crack or the belts snap, the radiator will quickly overheat, leaving you stranded. Check hoses for cracks, leaks and loose connections. Hoses should be firm, never soft and malleable, and belts can be visually checked for damage. If anything is noticeably wrong, get it fixed immediately, before you're stranded in the summer heat.

Vehicles need updating and maintenance through the changing of the seasons, but a few easy steps can prevent a summer of unexpected issues and repairs. Start now on these preventative maintenance tips and you'll be cruising smoothly all season long.
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Word of the Day

April 5, 2013 5:56 pm

Net lease. Lease requiring the tenant to pay all the costs incurred in maintaining a property, including taxes, insurance, repairs, and other expenses normally required of the owner.
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Q: Should I Hire a Home Inspector?

April 5, 2013 5:56 pm

A: By all means. Buying a home without getting expert advice is risky. Once a home inspector uncovers major plumbing and electrical problems, for example, you may decide you do not want to spend several thousand dollars on repairs.

Always include an inspection clause in your written offer. This clause gives you an “out” from buying if serious problems are detected. It also gives you another chance to negotiate the purchase price if repairs are needed. The clause can even specify that the sellers fix any problem that is uncovered before you settle, or close, on the home.

You also may want to consider hiring experts to inspect the home for a number of health-related risks like radon gas, asbestos, or possible problems with the water or waste disposal system.
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More Women Are Flying Solo to See the World

April 4, 2013 5:52 pm

So you’re a woman and you want to see the world – on your terms.

Join the crowd!

More and more women are traveling alone or with girlfriends; an estimated 32 million in the past year, according to the Travel Industry Association.

“It’s the new trend in travel and, really, it’s a no-brainer,” says Ruth Yunker, an intrepid solo traveler and author of “Paris, I’ve Grown Accustomed to Your Ways,” a humorous recounting of her extended stay in Paris as part-time resident, part-time tourist.

“Women hold the purse strings, so to speak, and we don’t necessarily want to see and experience our travel destinations in the same ways men do.”

The numbers tell the story:

• 28 million single women ages 35 and older – a growing demographic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
• Earnings for women with a college degree have increased 31 percent since 1979 while men’s grew just 16 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
• In 2011, 28 percent of married women made more than their husbands, up from 17.8 percent in 1987.

“We value our independence and we have the means to get up and go, so why not?” Yunker says.

If you’re a woman who has dreamed of taking off on a safari, jaunting across Europe or sampling fried seahorses in Beijing, Yunker offers valuable advice:

1. So you want to travel. You are dying to travel. You have a list of 10 favorite places you’re going to get to … one day. Buy the airline ticket six months in advance. A non-refundable ticket. Don’t fret. Don’t get stopped by all the details. Just do it. There. You’ve taken the first step. You can, and will, worry about all the other details later. But baby, with this ticket, you are now on your way.

2. Bring a few creature comforts from home. I bring my own pillowcase for the airline pillows, my ragged at-home comfy wear instead of new nightgowns for the hotel or apartment, and the clipboard for working crossword puzzles.

3. Pack only clothes you currently actually wear. Do not buy a ton of new clothes for the trip. A suitcase packed with new clothes is a trip doomed to tears, trust me. The old clothes fit you now. You know without thinking how to look pulled together. The new clothes are uncomfortable. They don’t go with anything yet. And they scream brand new traveler!

4. Bring some currency from your destination country with you. Do it. Everyone will tell you otherwise. They’ll say it’s so much cheaper to change your money once you get there. Maybe. But in the mayhem of the airport, suitcases going in every direction, do you really want to be finding the currency exchange? Just getting to the hotel/apartment will be job enough. So do arrive with Euros or whatever currency you need. It doesn’t have to be a huge sum, just enough to ease your arrival.

5. Once at the hotel, unpack your toilet articles and arrange them in the bathroom in the same order you do at home. It makes things so much easier. It’s so nice to be able to leave the hotel/apartment without having had a meltdown looking for misplaced mascara.

Ruth Yunker is an author, humorist, columnist, blogger and diehard world traveler.


For more information, visit www.ruthyunker.com
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At Your Next Party Make the Fun Last, Not the Waste

April 4, 2013 5:52 pm

(Family Features)--When hosting a party, the excitement is often about the guest list, invitations and the menu, but what about the amount of trash that comes out of gathering with family and friends? Actress Tiffani Thiessen and party planner, Heidi Mayne, share innovative and eco-friendly party planning ideas, so you can increase the fun, while decreasing your waste.

Thiessen and Mayne have teamed up with The Glad Products Company to go "One Bag" -- working toward the ultimate goal of sending just one bag of trash to the landfill, with the rest being diverted to recycling and compost.

"My goal is to inspire others to go one bag, no matter the occasion, which is why I've teamed up with Glad. Whether I'm hosting a cocktail party for friends or a birthday party for my daughter, it just takes a little bit of planning to cut down on waste," says Thiessen. "When planning a party it's important to go out of your way to make your guests feel special, even with trash diversion. Your efforts might even inspire friends to carry new waste habits into everyday living."

Below are a few tips Mayne suggests for keeping waste to a minimum at parties:

Reduce - Think about future dinners when preparing your party menu. Serve items that will freeze well. If you have leftovers, this will reduce food waste and give you a head start on dinner the following week.

Reuse - If you entertain frequently, invest in the real stuff -- china, flatware, glassware and napkins. Accumulate it slowly by shopping at thrift stores and the sales at your favorite stores. Select a solid color and stick to that color to build a collection you can use year round. For example, red is great for everything from Christmas to Valentine's Day, to the 4th of July.

Recycle - Create sorting stations with proper receptacles -- trash, recycling and compost -- to make sorting waste easy. Then ensure sorting station signage is bright and noticeable so guests know where things go. Use colored chalk on chalkboards, have your kids draw colorful pictures of the recycling symbol, paint signs on recycled wood, or take photographs of your children holding letters that read RECYCLE. Enlarge the photos, place them in frames, and hang them above the recycling bin station.

"You don't have to sacrifice style and individuality when introducing eco-friendly elements that promote the three R's into your plans," says Mayne of Red25 Events. "From 200 wedding guests to intimate backyard barbecues, you can make small changes that will make a big difference to reduce your waste."

Source: www.Glad.com/onebag.
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