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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

How to ‘Own’ Your Dream

December 14, 2012 4:26 pm

SWParents--It is a peculiar truth of life that we often do not appropriately value the things we don’t directly pay for. One of the problems with credit is that it enables us to have something that we “want” now even though we might not really need it. And had we been forced to earn the money for it first then we might have decided later that it’s not worth the money because it’s not worth the work we had to put in to get it.

Unfortunately many of us approach our dreams with the same buying-on-credit philosophy that we use to buy our stuff. We want to find a way to get them without having to pay for them upfront. In other words we want the accolades, the raises, the notoriety, the freedom and the status but we would rather not have to put the work in for it up front in order to get it. But even though we think that is what we want, it ultimately doesn’t satisfy.

A dream that is handed to you wouldn’t be worth as much as one you had to pay to own. It wouldn’t have the same significance, the same meaning, and it wouldn’t represent the same success. Even though we may not realize it, the satisfaction of reaching the dream comes from having paid the price in order to get it.

So if you have a dream – any dream – you don’t want it on “credit”. That is, you don’t want it “given” to you and you don’t need it to “come easy”. You want to work for it, you want to earn it, you want to pay the price for it. You want to own it! My friend and author, Randy Gage, often says “you should be the number one investor into your own dream.”

There are 3 currencies you can use to invest in owning your dream: time, money, and energy. If you have a dream that you want then you can own it by investing any one of those 3 things into it at any moment.
And as the “Buy-In Principle” of the Take the Stairs methodology reminds us, “the more we have invested into something the less likely we are to let it fail.” So don’t wait for your dream to be given to you. Don’t expect an easier way for it to show up. Don’t think it’d be better if it just happened. Instead, start investing! Start paying the price and you’ll be amazed at the power you have once you truly “own” your own dream.
See you in the “stairwell.”

Rory Vaden, MBA is Cofounder of Southwestern Consulting, Self-Discipline Strategist and Speaker, and New York Times bestselling author of "Take the Stairs.”

Source: www.roryvaden.com
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Word of the Day

December 14, 2012 4:26 pm

Contract. A legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties. To be valid, a real estate contract must be dated, in writing, include a consideration, have a description of the property, the place and date of delivery of the deed, and spell out all terms and conditions that were mutually agreed upon. It also must be executed (signed) by the buyer and seller.
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Q: What Are the Main Reasons Why Homeowners Remodel?

December 14, 2012 4:26 pm

A: There are many reasons. Home remodeling can improve the appearance of your home, enhance its value, add to your quality of life, and appeal to future home buyers. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders, the top four reasons homeowners remodel is to obtain more space, avoid buying a new home, enjoy more amenities, and adjust to lifestyle changes.
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Clean Closets Make a Happy Home

December 14, 2012 4:26 pm

(Family Features)—When it comes to getting the house clean and tidy, closets often get left off the to-do list. From hall closets and linen closets to bedroom closets, “out of sight, out of mind” thinking quickly leads to clutter – and then frustration when you can’t find what you need when you need it.

But a little planning and a few simple tips can help you get your closets in user-friendly shape in no time.

Put your closets on your calendar. Take stock of your schedule and commit some time to tackle your closets. Set realistic expectations – you don’t have to conquer all your closets at once. It may make sense for your family to forego TV one evening a week and focus on one closet at a time, for example.

Start by sorting.

  • If you haven’t worn a piece of clothing in the past year – or you can’t remember the last time you wore something – then you don’t need it. Other items to purge from your closet: children’s clothes and shoes that are either too small or too worn out to pass down to a sibling or a friend.
  • Sort your remaining clothes by season and then into piles to keep or pass down. If you have limited closet space, keep only the current season’s wardrobe in your closet. Carefully pack and store the rest for later.
  • Linen closets stay more organized when you stack similar sized items together. Sort sheets by size, and group washcloths, hand towels and bath towels together.
  • For closets that hold everything from the vacuum cleaner to art supplies and anything in between, work one shelf at a time. Sort items by categories and dedicate one shelf or area of the closet to each group.
Eliminate excess – but don’t throw it away. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. There are easy ways to donate your unwanted items to benefit those in need. One example is DonateStuff.com, where you can request pre-paid UPS shipping bags that make it simple and free to send in unwanted clothes, shoes, accessories and household linens. Your donation benefits one of three national nonprofits of your choosing: AMVETS, Easter Seals, or The Purple Heart. It’s tax deductible, and it reduces waste. Americans throw away an average of 68 pounds of clothing each year – DonateStuff.com helps keep over 470,000 pounds of clothing out of landfills every week. .

Green up your storage. When it’s time to put things back into place, instead of buying new containers to hold things, look around the house for boxes and containers you already heave. Baskets, crates and even empty shoeboxes can be reused to keep your closets more organized.

Repeat often. You don’t have to wait until the next neighborhood yard sale before you sift through your closets again. As with most household chores, a little maintaince goes a long way to keep your closets looking neat and clean. You could even keep a bag in each of your kids’ closets and encourage them to set aside gently used and outgrown items on a regular basis.

You’ll be amazed at how much happier clean closets can make the whole house feel – especially when you turn the stuff you don’t need into a good deed.

Source: www.DonateStuff.com
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Don’t Get Sick Before You Travel—Here’s How

December 14, 2012 4:26 pm

(BPT) - You research what museums and restaurants you want to visit, plan everything you're going to pack, and count down the days until you leave. Anticipating a vacation is exciting - unless you suddenly get sick. Falling ill before or during your trip can derail the fun quickly, and that's why it's so important to add a few steps to your pre-vacation checklist that can help you stay healthy.

Whether you're traveling to a neighboring state or across the globe, feeling your best is an important part of having a great trip. The experts at On Call International, an emergency medical, security and travel assistance organization, offer these tips for maintaining health before and during your travel adventures:

1. Consider your vaccination options

Although typically associated with international travel, vaccines are important for staying healthy before and during any type of travel. When was the last time you asked your doctor if you were up to date on your vaccinations? Before your next trip, schedule a physical and ask about vaccines, such as options for the flu, and any other travel-related health concerns. If you're traveling to a more exotic or remote location, you may want to see a travel medicine specialist who can advise you on which vaccinations and precautions Americans should take when going to that specific destination.

2. Always wash your hands
While it may sound simple, one of the best ways to stay healthy and prevent the spread of germs is to wash your hands regularly with soap and water. Especially during the flu season, washing your hands thoroughly is important to staying healthy. If you're traveling and you don't have access to clean water and soap, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the next best thing.

3. Carry sanitizing wipes
A handy travel tool to have in your bag is a pack of sanitizing wipes. While it's not necessary to sanitize every surface you encounter, using them for commonly touched areas can help keep you healthy by killing viruses and germs. For example, carry a travel-size pack of wipes to clean your airplane tray before eating, door knobs at your hotel, or the keyboard at the local Internet cafe. If you -don't have wipes, a dab of hand sanitizer on a tissue is a simple substitute.

4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Staying healthy is an ongoing effort, which means well before you take your trip, make sure you are eating right, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and getting adequate amounts of sleep each night. You'll also want to exercise regularly, and consider increasing your physical activity if you'll be particularly active on your trip to help prepare your body for long walks or hikes. These extra efforts will help keep your immune system strong so you don't get sick before you leave, and you'll be less vulnerable to fall ill or get injured while traveling.

5. Have a plan B

Of course anything can happen, even if you take the proper health steps, which is why a membership to a medical, security and travel assistance company like On Call International is a good backup plan. If you do get sick while on vacation, you'll get assistance locating a qualified physician, hospital or pharmacy. If you lose your prescription, there's replacement assistance too. In the event of a serious illness or injury, you'll receive emergency medical evacuation, which includes the planning and cost of transporting you home to your preferred doctor.

Source: www.OnCallInternational.com.
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7 Tips for End-Of-Year Financial Planning

December 14, 2012 4:26 pm

As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to review your last-minute tax and spending strategies and plan ahead for next year. A panel of financial planners suggests seven end-of-year tasks that probably belong on your checklist:

Donate used goods or money – This is the time to clean out your closets and make donations for which you may claim a tax deduction. The same is true for cash donations to charity.
Use expiring medical coverage – If you have a flexible spending account, get your eyes or teeth checked now or see your other medical providers to use up any coverage that may expire at the end of the year.
Adjust your withholding - If you got a big refund last year, and have similar income and expenses this year, consider reducing your withholding. This will put more money in your pocket each month for savings or unexpected expenses.
Look at your debt – Are there credit card balances you can move or consolidate to reduce or eliminate finance charges for at least some period of time? Can you adjust spending to commit additional funds toward repayment of debt? Have your built up enough equity in your home to eliminate PMI?
Check your 401K or investment portfolio – Consult with your financial advisor to determine whether you should increase contributions, rebalance assets, or sell underperforming stocks.
Review your insurance – Check the person or people you’ve named for your retirement accounts and insurance policies. Did you have a death, birth, or divorce this year that could change the beneficiaries?
Curb your holiday spending – Before you head to the mall, determine to stick to a predetermined gift-giving budget. It’s as good a time as any to adjust your financial mindset to consider saving or paying off debt before laying out cash or adding to your credit card balances.
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Word of the Day

December 14, 2012 4:26 pm

Conventional loan. Real estate loan that is not insured by the FHA or guaranteed by the VA.
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Q: When Remodeling, Should I Tackle the Job Myself or Call in the Pros?

December 14, 2012 4:26 pm

A: A lot will depend on your time, level of expertise or willingness to handle the job, amount of help from friends or relatives, and how much you want, or need, to save by doing the job yourself. You could save up to 20 percent of the project cost through your own hard work.

There are several do-it-yourself books that offer guidance, and some home improvement stores, such as Home Depot or Lowe’s, offer classes that can be helpful getting you on the right track.

Be aware, however, that you may end up spending more time, and up to double your estimated budget, if problems arise. Also, you may have difficulty selling your home if the workmanship looks shoddy.
Unless you are very experienced, home improvement experts suggest that you stick to painting, minor landscaping, building interior shelving, and other minor improvements.

Remember, too, that you may need to deal with local agencies to get permits, inspections, variances, and certificates of occupancy.
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Five Quick Tips for Easy Holiday Entertaining

December 13, 2012 6:24 pm

The very thought of trying to squeeze a party or two into your already hectic holiday schedule may make you contemplate giving up the holidays altogether. But there are many ways to meet your hosting commitments without a lot of added stress.

Laguna Beach caterer Cindi Fredericks suggests party tips for entertaining a dozen or more guests with panache and minimum effort:

One setting, two parties – Once the living room or patio is decorated, plan two parties in the same week instead of one. Buy double sets of party paper or plastic goods and invite co-workers one evening and neighbors the next, using the same fresh centerpieces, the same buffet set-up and seating space, even the same menu if you wish.
Make it an open house – Opening your home for three or four hours will allow guests to come and go as their schedules permit – and give you time to replenish platters and do a little discreet clean-up in between.
Make it self-serve – Buffets are fun and easy, and even the bar or beverage table should allow guests to help themselves. Finger foods eliminate the need for cutlery. Set out red and white wine, a bottle or two of club soda, a punchbowl or sodas, and coffee.
Make it cheesey – One trip to the deli can get you ready for one or several parties at once, and refrigerated foods will keep well for several days. Choose several chunks of cheese to set out with crackers or party rye and a chub or two of salami that guests can slice for themselves. Fill out the fare with bowls of olives, gherkins, raw veggies, nuts, fresh grapes, and a platter of cookies.
Make it sweet – A dessert party is a fun and easy way to do your holiday hosting. Prepare and freeze in advance five or six kinds of cookies, brownies, fudge balls or other finger-food desserts. You may even ask guests to bring a dozen of their own favorite cookie treats. On the day of your party, thaw the goodies on festive platters and provide coffee and hot water for tea or cocoa.
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What’s in Storage for You?

December 13, 2012 6:24 pm

As the holidays approach, are you finding yourself penned in by too much stuff? I am among the millions of those who reduce the amount of household clutter by renting supplemental storage space.

With that in mind, we found a recent post at apartmenttherapy.com very helpful. It was chock full of good ideas, whether you’re looking for your first storage space, or you’ve maintained one for some time. They include:

Pallets, Pallets, Pallets: Keeping your items off the floor is critical - there's no way to guarantee melting snow won't come under the door, or the adjacent unit won't have a spill that soaks its way into your heirloom sofa. 


Wrap What You Can: Use industrial plastic wrap. That way, you know things are sealed up tight and they won't collect dust or creepy crawlies.
Use A Hefty Small Lock: Although most units have security in them, that doesn't mean they'll always be paying attention. Find an all-weather pad lock that has a short arm to ensure a bolt cutter can't slide it's way in to be sliced open.
Label, Label, Label: Even though you know exactly what you're putting in your storage unit at the time you open it, that doesn't mean in 6 months when you need back in it that you won't be digging for ages and opening random boxes until you find what you're after. Label everything.
Plan for Temperature Changes: Although this might not be an issue in some parts of the country, there are a few things that don't like the cold or the heat and should either be double wrapped or well insulated or not stored at all. Electronics, vinyl records, old photos (if humid), are among those temperature sensitive possessions.
Protect The Space: While you are concerned about protecting what is in the unit, protecting the unit itself is also important — there can be heavy fines for scarring the unit during your tenancy.
Stack It High: Even the smallest storage unit can hold a great deal, just make sure you use the space wisely - which means packing things all the way to the ceiling. Bringing in plywood to lie across several boxes can help stabilize layers as your stacking it up, up and up! It will take the pressure off the tops of your boxes and help keep things safe.

Consumers can also find a ton of information about improving their self-storage experience at www.nationalselfstorage.com.
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