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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

Word of the Day

March 28, 2013 10:06 pm

Loan servicing.  Task of collecting monthly payments, handling insurance and tax impounds, delinquencies, early payoffs, and mortgage releases.


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An Illuminating Case for Motion & Solar Lighting

March 28, 2013 10:06 pm

One of the easiest and most economical ways to provide enhanced safety and security
is by adding lights to areas of frequent foot traffic, or the more secluded corners of your
property. So I went looking for a few ways to shed a little light on both wired and wireless
exterior lighting options.
 
Mark J. Donovan, who posted for homeadditionplus.com says the heart of a motion
activated light is an infrared sensor that detects infrared waves, or heat waves, that
radiate from moving objects.
 
Most models of the models available can adjust the field of view - including the detection
angle and detection range - to mitigate nuisance triggers like passing vehicles or
shrubbery being blown by the wind.
 
Donovan says when installing a motion activated exterior light it is best to locate it
approximately 6 to 10 feet off of the ground and in locations that are near egresses to
your home, for examples walkways, patios, garage doors.
 
So how much will you have to pay for a good motion sensing light? At $25 to $40,
bestcovery.com points to the Heath ZenithSL-5512-BZ 300-Watt Quartz Halogen for
motion-activated outdoor lighting, because it includes both a motion sensor and a
two-light halogen floodlight for added convenience.
 
It has a 240-degree motion-activated floodlight featuring a “pulse count” that reduces the
amount of times it's triggered due to wind and rain.
 
If you need serious lighting capacity and you want to add the energy-saving aspect of
solar power, look to ycasolarlightstore.com. This site offers a range of solutions starting
at around $50 graduating up to very sophisticated systems.
 
For instance, the Solar Goes Green SGG-F156-2R Industrial Grade LED Solar Flood
Light - with SMD (Surface Mount Diode) LEDs is more energy efficient and 17% brighter
than standard LEDs. And it includes a long life Lithium Ion battery for superior lighting
cycle time.
 
The SGG-F156-2R Solar Flood light can be configured as a Dusk to Dawn Floodlight, or
as a Solar Powered Motion activated security light using the adjustable motion PIR
detector.
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First-Time Home Buyer? Tips for a Smooth Sale

March 28, 2013 10:06 pm

 

Attention to detail and proper preparation can alleviate much of the stress and save time for first-time home buyers.

Coby Crump, President of the Lubbock Association of REALTORS®, says to keep in mind personal finances, the bigger picture, and professional assistance to make for a smooth sale.

Before even beginning to look at the first house, Crump said, it would behoove buyers to sit down and consider their financial situation.

"You can waste a lot of time if you view homes without knowing what you can really afford," Crump says.

In addition to monthly payments and a down payment, it is important to consider property taxes and insurance. A REALTOR® can be beneficial in assessing one's finances.

"When considering finances, ensure to get pre-approved for any loans," he says. "This allows the comfort to search for homes in a buyer's price range. It can also show a seller that he or she is interested and serious, and can allow for an offer to be made quickly."

Crump adds to keep in mind the bigger picture and ultimate goal when faced with annoyances or hiccups in the process. Be realistic and be prepared to make minor concessions.

"You don't have to set low expectations about your home purchase," he says. "Just know that you may need to give a little on one of your search criteria."

With all hiccups or potential problems, it is helpful to have professional assistance; and this includes a professional inspector and a REALTOR®.

A professional inspector can determine what needs to be repaired or replaced. A REALTOR® will prove to be an invaluable partner for the duration of your buying experience. A REALTOR® belonging to the National Association of REALTORS® is held to a high standard of ethics.


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Make Spring Break Safe and Healthy

March 28, 2013 10:06 pm

It's that time of year again –bags are packed and people all across the country are on their way to a week filled with fun in the sun. Spring break is a good time for rest and relaxation, but vacation is also a time when many of us lose track of healthy practices including nutritious eating or common sense safety rules.   

"You can enjoy yourself and a few indulgences while still keeping your health a priority in the midst of spring break travel," says Kimbra Bell, MD, an internal medicine physician with Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group.

Below are Bell's tips to stay healthy during spring break vacations:


  • Protect your skin. If traveling to a sun-filled destination, wear sunscreen of at least 30 SPF and most importantly, do not forget to re-apply every two hours.  This will protect against the sun's harmful rays which predispose a person to skin cancer, including melanoma.

  • Eat healthy. A healthy diet is important – even while on vacation.  Be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables in meals and drink lots of water.  Nutritious food will keep the body fueled and well-hydrated, providing plenty of energy to engage in activities all day.  In addition, the foundation for any day is a healthy breakfast.

  • Stay hydrated. Oftentimes spring break can involve various days filled with strenuous activities from rock climbing to various kinds of sports; keeping hydrated is essential with any sort of physical activity.  Remember to stay well-hydrated with at least 48 ounces of water per day.  A general rule of thumb would be a minimum of three to four 16 ounce standard water bottles per day.  

  • Pick luggage wisely. If carrying a purse, wear one that can be strapped across the body and has a zipper, not a snap closure or an open closure. A secure zipper can thwart "pick pocket" attempts and decrease the chances of someone grabbing the purse and running away with it.

  • Get plenty of sleep.   A good night's rest is the foundation for renewing and refueling the body for the next day. Adults should strive to get six to eight hours of sleep each night; even on vacation where sleep can sometimes seem secondary to having fun.    

For college students and young adults who are taking spring break trips, Bell reminds that making smart choices and using common sense is one of the best ways to stay safe on spring break. She recommends the following safety tips:


  • Do not travel alone. While on spring break, always move about in pairs or groups.  Traveling alone increases your chances of being a victim of theft or other crime.

  • Take caution if consuming alcohol. If consuming alcoholic drinks (or nonalcoholic beverages) in a public space, never leave a beverage unattended; this can expose the risk of someone putting an unknown substance into the drink. Discard any drink that has been left unattended. Avoid overindulgence which can lead to serious injury or illness and never operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

  • Protect yourself. For those engaging in sexual activity while on spring break, taking safety precautions is essential. Remember, consuming alcohol can cloud judgment and result in bad decision making; it's crucial to assure that both parties are consenting and capable of making decisions. Sexually transmitted infections (STI) are on the rise among young adults. While the only way to be 100 percent protected against STI is to abstain from sexual activity, condoms can prevent transmission of STI between sexual partners.

  • Check in back at home. While it's easy to stay disconnected while on vacation, vacationers should always keep contact with family or friends at home. Plan to check in with parents or other family members at least two to three times over the course of a trip, which will let them know that you are safe and having a good time. If someone expects to hear from you, an immediate red flag will be raised if you don't make contact.

When in doubt, Bell recommends that young adults follow their instincts and make choices that feel best to them. "Remember, you are your own person and if the group that you are with chooses to engage in an activity that you are not comfortable with, do not be afraid to decline participation," said Bell.  "It's better to be safe than sorry.  Find someone who can escort you back to a safe place, such as your hotel room, and then grab your iPad or a good book and relax by the pool."

Source: www.nmh.org.


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Word of the Day

March 28, 2013 10:06 pm

Loan-to-value ratio.  Relationship of a mortgage loan to the appraised value of a piece of property.  Usually expressed to the buyer in terms of how much the lender will lend, i.e. – 75 percent financing.


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Q: What Guidelines Are Useful for Finding an Architect?

March 28, 2013 10:06 pm

A:  Start by finding out who designed the projects that you like in your community. Get referrals from people you know, or the local American Institute of Architects (AIA).  Interview three to five firms to get a range of possibilities for your project.  But only select firms that specialize in residential designs, preferably remodeling, and review their portfolios and talk with past clients.  Insist on meeting the key people who will work on your project and ask questions until you’re comfortable and confident about your decision.  Ultimately, select a firm based on its design ability, technical competence, professional service, and cost.  Then, enter into detailed negotiations about service and compensation.  The AIA offers standard-form owner-architect agreements that can help you begin this process.    
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Cool Kitchen Gadgets for Spinning, Grilling, Baking & Pressuring

March 28, 2013 12:06 pm

On occasion, I like to check out the latest, greatest gadgets and appliances to help make your life more interesting, fun and easy. So we're going continue our look at a few cool new electric kitchen accessories that are getting a lot of attention.



  • Checking in with yourresidentgourmet.net - we learned about the versatile Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker. According to Cuisinart, this is not your mother’s pressure cooker. This foolproof accessory will accomplish the task up to 70 percent faster than stovetop cooking; it has reprogrammed settings for high- or low-pressure cooking, browning, simmering and sautéing; and a removable pan that cleans up with ease.



  • The metalcrafters at Canonsburg, Pennsylvania's All-Clad (www.all-clad.com) offer an Electric Grill featuring two cooking surfaces are controlled separately so you can simultaneously grill foods like steaks and seafood that require different heat levels, from warm to searing. It includes a detachable stainless-steel splatter guard and drips and spills are channeled into a removable dishwasher-safe drawer for a quick and easy clean up.



  • Consumer Reports rated the Magimix Vision Toaster (Williams-Sonoma @ $250) a pricier eye-catching toaster featuring unique see-through sides that allow you to watch your toast turn an even shade of brown. Its single-slot design accommodates wide pieces of bread, and other special features include bagel, defrost, and warm/reheat settings. It comes in red and stainless steel.



  • Selfgrowth.com likes the Nostalgia Electrics JFD-100 Cake Pop & Donut Hole Bakery. That site claims it's the best tool for making delicious donuts and pastries, including jelly donuts, puff pancakes, buns, choc-lava cakes - even caramel brownies.



  • Finally, how about the Marinade Express, (marinadeexpress.com) a tabletop vacuum tumbler that provides a natural way to improve food preparation. Combined with MX Marinades, food prepped in the appliance comes out much more tender, juicy, flavorful, fresher tasting and healthy, according to its biggest fans.
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A Strong Financial Education Makes Good 'Cents'

March 28, 2013 12:06 pm

(BPT)—Millennials, also known as Generation Y or those born between 1978 and 1994, are money movers. They're wielding more purchasing power, spending $200 billion annually, and are expected to outspend the baby boomer generation by 2017, according to Kelton Research. At the same time, they face an increasingly complex global economy that puts heavy responsibility on individuals to plan for and manage their own finances from pre-college years through retirement.

This overwhelming reality presents both an opportunity and an obligation to enhance the financial literacy of young people so they're better prepared for the world they will encounter upon graduation. However, Millennials aren't the only demographic that would benefit from more resources to improve financial knowledge. No matter your age or income, having financial literacy will always be essential to making smart money decisions. One family-friendly resource available is TheMint.org - a website that provides educational tools and resources about budgeting, saving, tracking and investing money.

Financial literacy by the numbers

Young Americans are in a tough spot, financially. Today's 20-somethings hold an average individual debt of about $45,000 between student loans, credit cards, car payments, mortgages and other sources, according to PNC Bank, a staggering burden for an unprepared young person to carry, exacerbated by an elevated unemployment level among this group.

Consequently, this group is significantly more likely to feel that financial planning is complicated and overwhelming, according to a recent study by Northwestern Mutual. The study found that young people rank "not falling below your current standard of living" as an important financial goal, but only 54 percent believe that they are on track to achieve this goal.

And it's not just young people who feel they could be more financially prepared. The majority of Americans feel their financial planning needs improvement. In fact, Americans rated "improving personal finances" as their second highest annual priority, according to Northwestern Mutual's study. They are also worried they're unprepared to financially support themselves into their 70s, 80s and 90s.

Education is empowering

This month, get thinking about how you can improve your financial literacy and become better prepared for your future. You can use resources such as TheMint.org to re-teach yourself and your children how to manage money wisely. Understanding the fundamentals of personal finance is the first step to planning for the rest of your financial future. So why not learn more? It just makes "cents."

For more information, and a variety of educational resources and interactive tools, visit www.themint.org.


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10 Awesome Foods to Eat Today

March 28, 2013 12:06 pm

These days, there are more diet tips and food charts floating around the Internet than most of us could read in a lifetime. But most nutritionists agree that a diet low in fat and high in protein and fiber can help us fend off illness, improve general fitness, and stay in optimal health.


Based on USDA dietary guidelines, registered dietitian Carol Flynn suggests the ten best foods to choose every day:



  1. Egg whites – One of the most concentrated and easily absorbed foods on the planet, egg whites contain selenium and riboflavin, which may have anti-cancer benefits. Whip them into an omelet with veggies or scramble with one whole egg.

  2. Oats and oatmeal – High in fiber, oats are slow-digesting complex carbs that help keep energy up and blood sugar stable. Avoid high-sugar flavored oatmeal, but doopt for granola containing oatmeal.

  3. Beans – Canned, dried or re-fried, all beans are good for you. Add to pasta, soups or salads for a boost of great tasting protein, fiber and antioxidants.

  4. Quinoa – Not technically a grain, but rather a seed, it’s high in fiber and complex carbs and has all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s a good stand-in for brown rice or in pilaf, salads, or warm breakfast cereal.

  5. Fish – fresh, canned or frozen, fish is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which studies show reduce coronary heart disease. It also helps improve circulation and reduce blood pressure.

  6. Almonds and other nuts – A handful a day, preferably unsalted, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, certain cancers and possibly Alzheimer’s. Nuts are also rich in healthy fats and antioxidants.

  7. Cruciferous vegetables – These include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and radishes, which are high in vitamin C and numerous nutrients that may have anti-cancer properties.

  8. Apples – one a day may really help keep the doctor away. Low in sugar and high in soluble fiber, apples may help reduce the risk of colon, prostate and lung cancers.

  9. Berries – All varieties are high in fiber and antioxidants, and low in sugar. Eat them out of hand or add to salads or smoothies.

  10. Salad greens – Green, leafy varieties, including spinach, are great sources of vitamins and minerals.


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Word of the Day

March 28, 2013 12:06 pm

Release of mortgage.  Certificate from the lender stating that the loan has been repaid.
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Tom Skiffington - RE/MAX 440

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