Thomas Skiffington, CRS, GRI, CRB, ABR, ePro, CLHMS, SRES, RECS, CDPE, ECOBROKER
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie, PA 18944
Office Phone: 215-453-7653
Toll Free: 800-440-remax
January 23, 2013 6:52 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.
January 22, 2013 4:48 pm
Litigation is America’s fastest growing business because plaintiffs have everything to gain and nothing but a few hours’ time to lose, says Hillel Presser, author of “Financial Self-Defense (Revised Edition).”
“Even if a case seems utterly ridiculous -- like the man who struck and killed a teenager with his luxury car and then sued the boy’s family for damage to his bumper -- defendants are encouraged to settle. It’s sometimes the only way to avoid potentially astronomical legal fees,” he says.
If you haven’t already taken steps to protect your assets, that’s one New Year’s resolution you’ll be glad you made and followed up on, Presser says. And while it helps to have the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in asset protection, there are many things you can do yourself.
“You shouldn’t have any non-exempt assets in your name,” Presser says. “The goal is to ‘own’ nothing but control everything.”
Presser suggests these resolutions for safeguarding your wealth in the event of a lawsuit:
• Inventory your wealth. Figure out how much assets you really have (most people have more than they think). Take stock of valuable domain names, telephone numbers, intellectual property, potential inheritances, and other liquid and non-liquid assets. That way you can then work on actions to cost effectively keep them safe.
• Set your goal. Setting your 2013 asset protection goal is your first step to becoming protected in the New Year! For instance, you could plan to execute an estate plan or set up a trust for your children in 2013. Decide what assets you want to protect in the New Year and a realistic timeline for implementation. Then -- and most importantly -- stick to your plan. Asset protection works only if you follow through.
• Protect your home. Find out how much of your home is protected by your state’s homestead laws and then encumber the remaining equity. Encumbering a home’s equity can be accomplished by recording a mortgage against it, re-financing a current mortgage or even taking out a lien of credit using your home as collateral! Another great strategy to protect your home is to transfer its title to a protective entity such as a limited liability company (LLC), trust, limited partnership, etc.
• Get everything out of your name. The worst thing you can do as far as exposure is titling all of your assets to your personal name. That doesn’t mean you have to lose control of them – the goal of asset protection is to “own nothing, but control everything.” In 2013, work on moving your assets out of your personal name and into the name of protective entities such as limited liability companies (LLC’s), trusts, limited partnerships, etc.
• Buy adequate insurance. Protect your loved ones. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage in the event a job loss, natural disaster, or even a tragic loss of life. Those include -- but are not limited to -- your car, home, and other valuables.
Hillel L. Presser’s law firm, The Presser Law Firm, P.A., represents individuals and businesses in establishing comprehensive asset protection plans. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Management and Nova Southeastern University’s law school, and serves on Nova’s President’s Advisory Council.
For more information, visit assetprotectionattorneys.com.
January 22, 2013 4:48 pm
(BPT) - Everything old is new again. At least that's a simplistic take on the tenets of upcycling, which translates to giving renewed purpose to something others send to landfills. For consumers with a passion for do-it-yourself projects, and the boards on Pinterest to prove it, upcycling has taken root. Some ideas are as simple as investing in a set of sharpies to transform ordinary cabinetry knobs into one-of-a-kind home accessories. Others require more time, as in creating a working chandelier from white plastic spoons. It's a small step considering that Americans throw out enough disposable dinnerware to circle the equator 300 times, according to www.earth911.com.
The Internet is littered with statistics estimating when our landfills will reach a tipping point. Other stats concentrate on the fact that trash must travel farther to meet its fate, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, individual states continue to consider putting in place stricter regulations for commercial businesses in order to save landfill space.
In answer to the call for smarter manufacturing practices, many brands have found ways to reduce their contribution to landfills. For instance, fashion brand H&M recently announced its partnership with I:Collect. H&M customers may donate any article of clothing from any brand to any H&M retailer worldwide in exchange for a store voucher.
I:Collect then repurposes the donated clothing. Since The Council of Textile Recycling reports that the average American throws away 70 pounds of clothing each year, this is yet another small dent in keeping usable materials out of landfills.
Another example is upcycling pioneer, Nike. Its Reuse-a-Shoe program launched in 1990, with more than 1.5 million pairs of post-consumer shoes now collected annually. Today, the company transforms those recycled shoes into Nike Grind, an ingredient used in making rubber flooring for gyms and weight rooms, along with running tracks and playground surfaces.
For some, finding meaning in waste, especially when it comes to manufacturing, may be a new idea. However, many companies have been out in front of this trend long before it became fashionable. For instance, ECORE is North America's largest consumer of recycled scrap-tire rubber, reusing over 80 million pounds of material each year. Rubber is engineered to never degrade, decompose or deteriorate. This is a great quality, except when tires are left to decompose in a landfill. The company partners with Nike and uses Nike Grind as an ingredient in its recycled rubber flooring.
"At ECORE, we don't just follow best practices - instead we develop smarter processes and systems to make best practices better," says ECORE chairman and CEO, Arthur Dodge III. "It's how we produce 2.6 million pounds of waste a year, but send only 1.3 percent of it to the landfill."
Recycling rubber might be too high of a commitment when at home, but there are a few easy steps people can take to keep reusable waste out of landfills:
Separate trash: If you don't already, separate your trash over the course of a week or two. In doing so, you'll gain an understanding for exactly what you throw away. Once you know what you have, find the right recycling centers in your community. And when it comes to food, consider composting.
Research alternatives: A certain segment of do-it-yourselfers already appreciate that one man's garbage is another man's treasure. Think about all the ways you can use, and reuse, materials in your home.
Buy smart: A little consideration in advance can go a long way in making your purchasing decisions. That may mean investing in products that are higher in quality, but enjoy a longer lifespan.
January 22, 2013 4:48 pm
If your high schooler is considering options for higher education, many factors come into play; a college’s geographic location, reputation for excellence in a chosen field, and financial viability among them.
Kiplinger’s, which annually rates colleges nationwide on the basis of educational quality and affordability, has released its top ten picks for 2013:
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill –Credited with stellar academics, reasonable sticker price and generous financial aid. The student-faculty ratio is 14-1, and the cost is about $18,000 for in-state and $39,000 for out-of-state students.
- University of Virginia – A Kiplinger pick since 2008, UVA has an undergraduate enrollment of less than 16,000. It is said to meet 100 percent of financial need and has a four-year graduation rate of 87 percent.
- University of Florida – Although a big school with 16 colleges, UF scores high on academics and cost, with an average annual rate of $16,500 for in-staters and $38,800 for out-of-state students.
- College of William and Mary – Small and highly competitive, the Virginia school is considered by many a ‘public Ivy.’ Annual cost is on the higher side, but the school boasts an 87 percent four-year graduation rate, which could save an extra year’s tuition.
- University of Maryland, College Park – With an average debt at graduation rate of just over $24,000, the school will join the Big Ten in the 2014-1015 year – a boon to athletes and still highly rated and fairly reasonable in cost.
- UCLA – Despite tuition increases in California, UCLA remains competitive thanks to generous financial aid. Known for rigorous academics, the school meets 84 percent of need for in- and out-of-state students.
- New College of Florida – This tiny school boasts solid academics and outstanding affordability, with an average debt at graduation cost of just over $14,000.
- UC Berkeley – Berkeley admits only 22 percent of applicants, making it the most selective school in these top ten. Out-of-state cost is high, but average debt at graduation is $17,116, the third lowest in these ratings.
- SUNY Geneseo – With the lowest cost for out-of-state students in the top ten, the New York school rates high in academics and excellent student to faculty ratio.
- UC San Diego – Delivers on academics and generous financial aid, with the lowest total cost of any California college. Average debt at graduation rate of just under $20,000.
January 22, 2013 4:48 pm
Encroachment. A building or other improvement that extends beyond its boundary and intrudes upon the property of another.
January 22, 2013 4:48 pm
A: That space may be as close as the next room, particularly if there is unused or under-utilized areas in your home. A garage, attic, side porch, large closet, or basement can all be converted to fit the use you have in mind. Or, maybe, a small area can be carved from a larger area like a kitchen or living room to create, say, a powder room. This concept of “stealing” space from a neighboring room is called space reconfiguration and it is much cheaper than a major remodeling job.
January 18, 2013 6:32 pm
If you watch the news or read the paper, then you know the flu has hit big this year. In fact, it has been declared an epidemic, with a particularly dangerous strain that has hospitalized more than 3,700 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are a number of steps people can take – at work, at home and at school – to help reduce their chances of getting the flu.
"Chief among them is getting a flu shot," says Kelly Arehart , Ph.D., Global Innovation Manager for The Healthy Workplace Project, Kimberly-Clark Professional. "But even people who get vaccinated can still get sick. There are additional precautions people should take to keep themselves and the people they spend the most time with healthy, such as adopting a simple three-step 'wash, wipe, sanitize' protocol."
Arehart offers the following five flu-prevention tips:
1. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces
– Viruses on surfaces like sink faucets and door handles can spread rapidly, especially in public places such as offices and schools. Cleaning surfaces with disinfecting wipes can reduce surface contamination on these germ "hot spots." Facilities that provide these and other tools to employees, teachers and students can make a difference. A recent study for The Healthy Workplace Project by Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona found that implementing the program's "wash, wipe, sanitize" protocol in the workplace reduces the probability of catching the flu or common cold by 80 percent. It can also reduce the number of surfaces contaminated by viruses by 62 percent. Another study of elementary schools found that when students were provided with the tools and knowledge necessary to break the chain of germ transmission in the classroom, contamination levels were significantly reduced throughout the entire school. The Healthy Workplace Project is a Kimberly-Clark Professional program that gets employees actively involved in helping to reduce the spread of cold and flu germs throughout the office. The Healthy Schools Project is a similar program for schools.
2. Wash hands often
– especially before eating, after using the restroom and after being outside. Use soap and warm water for 20 seconds. It is also important to dry your hands with a clean, fresh towel. Use instant hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
3. Take steps to prevent the spread of germs –
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze and then throw the tissue away. Try to use an anti-viral tissue, since some cold and flu viruses can live up to 24 hours on regular tissues.
4. Cough or sneeze into your elbow –
This will also help prevent the spread of germs since one sneeze can spray up to 3,000 infectious droplets into the air at more than 100 mph. If you don't have a tissue handy, use the inner part of your sleeve at the elbow.
5. If you get sick, stay home –
If you do become sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
January 18, 2013 6:32 pm
Everyone loves feeling productive and efficient. Whether it’s saving money or time, it’s never a bad idea to improve. Below are 5 tips to make your small business more efficient, just in time for the new year.
1. Save on Travel Costs –
Travel can be expensive, especially on a small business budget. Businesses can save by buying items for their company with business rewards cards, where companies can earn miles on every purchase. GoToMeeting is also a great solution that allows for virtual collaboration for up to 25 participants to screenshare and video conference.
2. Use Online Services Instead of Professionals -
To run a smart business, companies can reduce expenses associated with specialized skilled jobs by taking advantage of the right low cost tools and services. Using LegalZoom for straightforward legal services is far cheaper than hiring an attorney. And just about anyone can master dynamic accounting software like QuickBooks for all of their bookkeeping needs. QuickBooks Online allows businesses to access their accounting information anywhere and a free trial is available on Offers.com.
3. Utilize Mobile Services to Accept Transactions
– Transactional based companies should look into apps like GoPayment, which turns smartphones and tablets into credit card readers. It also makes bookkeeping a snap for companies that download their GoPayment records into their QuickBooks software, sending all of the company's financial information to one easy-to-access place.
4. Purchase Products that Will Last –
When furnishing an office, companies should buy new and high quality equipment and office furniture to avoid having to spend more money in the long run. Cheaper and substandard furniture breaks easily and wears out faster, forcing you to spend more money later to replace it..
5. Use Online Forums
- Not only does American Express and QuickBooks partner with Offers.com to make great deals available for small business owners, they also host forums and resources to answer small business questions. Companies can take advantage of free advice from experts to help their small businesses thrive.
January 18, 2013 6:32 pm
Eminent domain. The right or power of government to acquire private property for public use without the consent of the owner, provided fair compensation is provided.
January 18, 2013 6:32 pm
A: Disclosure could protect you from a lawsuit. Today, home sellers in most states must now fill out a form disclosing material facts about their homes. Material facts are details about the home’s condition or legal status, as well as the age of various components.
If your state does not require a written disclosure, the real estate laws probably require sellers to disclose any known problems with the home they are selling.