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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

Painting Kids' Rooms: Tips and Tricks to Get It Right

July 27, 2012 6:20 pm

Looking to set up a nursery or revamp the color of your tweens bedroom? Painting is an easy and cost-effective way to create just the right atmosphere. But knowing how to get started can feel overwhelming. These tips will help you choose the best type and color of paint, while keeping the process quick and stress-free.

Sheen Savvy -Sheen determines how shiny your paint looks when it's dry. Choosing the right sheen adds the perfect finishing touch on a room, and it can make a big difference when it comes to cleaning up.

Semi-Gloss - Brings a soft shine to the room without being overpowering. It's good for kids' rooms because it's durable and easy to clean. You can wipe off crayon and pencil marks with common non-abrasive cleaners.

Eggshell/Satin - Has a smooth finish with a subtle sheen, and is washable and scrubbable.
Flat - A beautiful matte coating with no shine. It is ideal for low-traffic areas and hides minor dents or nicks best.

Choosing Colors

For many DIYers, choosing paint colors can be a tricky and time-intensive process. There are so many options and many people worry about making a big color mistake.

Get inspired - Look through magazines, websites such as Pinterest®, an online pinboard, and even at friends' homes to get some ideas.

Try them out - Once you've narrowed down your color choices, try out your top picks to see how they will look in the room with your specific lighting conditions.


Painting Tips

• Consider using a combination paint and primer -- it can save you time and money by eliminating the need to use two painting products.
• Work from the ceiling down to the baseboards. Do one entire wall or area at a time.
• Use wide masking tape to mask off areas you don't want to paint, such as window panes or trim.
• Use a roller to paint in blocks of roughly 4 x 4 feet. Paint adjacent blocks before each previous block dries to help blend the edges.
• Paint molding and woodwork with a brush, in the direction of the wood grain. Use short strokes to coat the surface, then use longer, smoother strokes for an even and finished surface.
• Make sure the room is well ventilated as you paint.
• Pick a paint that dries quickly and has low odor, so your child can move into the newly painted space sooner.

Source: www.Glidden.com.
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Tips to Recognize Teen Depression: Eagle Ranch Academy

July 27, 2012 6:20 pm

Every parent wants to be a support system for their child. Keeping an eye out for signs of depression is one way you can be there for your teen. Below are several tips for recognizing if your child may be suffering from depression.

Tip 1: If a teen becomes overly quiet and withdrawn from others, tending to spend most of their time in their room away from family and friends, this could be a definite sign of depression. Typically, depressed teens do not wish to communicate with others and would rather avoid any type of social situation.

Tip 2: Dropping grades in school could also be another sign of teen depression. A student that usually gets A’s or B’s, and is currently getting more C’s and D grades could be suffering from depression, as is sometimes seen when parents decide to send their children to a teen treatment center.

Tip 3: Quick or dramatic changes in mannerisms, dress, actions, and friend crowd could also be a sign of depression. Observe a teen closely to see how their behavior and friend crowd has changed.

Tip 4: During the winter months, if changes in teen behavior occur, this could be a sign of seasonal depression. Treatment for this depression may be different than others, but the symptoms for seasonal depression are the same, but with symptoms only occurring during certain seasons, and disappearing in others.

Tip 5: Is a teen prone to listening to music on their iPod or multimedia device with their headphones in and their volume up to full blast for long periods of time? This could be another sign of teen depression. Typically, a teen that does this regularly is trying to isolate themselves from the real world by tuning out everything but their music. It is not so much what music they are listening to as it is the fact that they are choosing loud volumes and isolating themselves.

Source: Eagle Ranch Academy
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Word of the Day

July 27, 2012 6:20 pm

Origination fee. A charge by the lender for granting and processing a new mortgage loan.
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Q: Are There Standard Ways to Determine How Much a Home Is Worth?

July 27, 2012 6:20 pm

A: Yes. A comparative market analysis and an appraisal are the two most common and reliable ways to determine a home's value.

Your real estate agent can provide a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on the recent selling price of similar neighborhood properties. Reviewing comparable homes that have sold within the past year along with the listing, or asking, price on current homes for sale should prevent you from overpricing your home or underestimating its value.

A certified appraiser can provide an appraisal of a home. After visiting the home to check such things as the number of rooms, improvements, size and square footage, construction quality, and the condition of the neighborhood, the appraiser then reviews recent comparable sales to determine the estimated value of the home.

You also can check recent sales in public records, through private firms, and on the Internet to help you determine a home’s potential worth.
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9 Popular Trends in Laminate Flooring for the Home

July 27, 2012 4:20 pm

Just as fashion designers in the apparel industry sweat over every button, stitch and pleat, the floorcovering industry has its own designers who diligently follow trends in order to give homeowners the most current offerings on the market.

"Home decorating trends change in the same way clothing fashion does," says Bill Dearing, president of the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA). "What's in our closets evolves, and the same goes for the décor of our homes. Flooring's no exception."

Laminate flooring gets its beauty from a photographic image fused beneath a protective layer, which makes it particularly adaptable to new designs.

"Any design you can imagine is possible in laminate," Dearing says. "Unique and rare species that aren't possible in real wood, and marbles and stones that would cost thousands of dollars – all of it's possible in laminate design."

Here's what's hot with homeowners.

Extremely Realistic Looks – Look for authentic reproductions of the original material. "Enhanced realism is definitely the hottest trend in laminate flooring design," Dearing says. "Reclaimed looks, subtle embossing – the visuals have never been more realistic. The ever-changing laminate market has driven design to become more realistic."

While the rustic, time-worn look in wood continues to be a favorite style with homeowners, laminate flooring now can replicate distressed hardwood styles and hand-scraped finishes, nail holes, saw marks and other natural features of reclaimed wood. With wood looks comprising nearly 80 percent of laminate sales – ceramic tile, marble and stone replications constitute the balance – oak and hickory looks are faring well.

Growth in Bamboo – Manufacturers are moving beyond traditional wood looks with the introduction of near-flawless replications of strand-woven bamboo. It's the next big thing for laminate.
Dimensions of Design – The trend is thicker, wider, longer. Laminate planks are available in longer lengths and wider widths that more closely replicate wood floors.

Shining Bright – There's greater interest in high-gloss flooring. All finishes are available in laminate, from matte to high gloss and everything in between. And maintaining a scratch- and fade-resistant laminate floor is a breeze, so it will stay looking good for years to come.

The New Neutral – Grays in all tints, tones and shades are becoming a mainstay in the new color palette. They provide a neutral but interesting option for laminate design.

Going Green – Buying green has progressed from a trend to a way of life for many homeowners. Consumers are choosing products that have recycled content, and NALFA-certified laminate is inherently green. A product's lifecycle is also a green consideration, and laminate is known for its extreme durability.

Home Grown – There's been a surge in the significance of "Made in North America." Consumers feel more confident trusting the quality of laminate products manufactured at home under higher standards.

Value Shopping – With budget in the forefront of consumers' minds these days, homeowners are looking for high quality. But they want to be sure they're getting a good value. Affordable luxury is the objective. The most in-demand laminate designs have high-end looks at affordable prices.

Something Different – Cement is popular in commercial settings, and it's a laminate look that's drifting to homes.

SOURCE North American Laminate Flooring Association www.nalfa.com
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Five Reasons Why Buying a Home Is Still a Good Idea

July 27, 2012 4:20 pm

(ARA) - A still murky economy and uncertain real estate market may have you wondering if buying a home is a good idea. Whether you're thinking about buying, or already have and just need some affirmation, you may find it comforting to know there are still plenty of good reasons for financially stable people to buy a house. Here are a few:

Homeownership can help make good credit even better. If your credit is in poor shape, you'll want to monitor it before seeking a mortgage. But if you have good credit, live within your means, and consistently make good financial decisions, a mortgage can be the kind of "good debt" that helps your overall financial health. Making regular payments on a mortgage shows potential lenders that you're a less risky candidate for a home loan. Before you begin home shopping, it's a good idea to check your credit. Enrolling in a product like freecreditscore.com can help you better understand and leverage your credit.

A mortgage can function like an automatic savings plan. By now, you've read the news reports about how little we Americans save these days. Well, every year you pay on your fixed-rate mortgage, is a year of building equity, and equity is like money in the bank. When it's time to sell - whether you've stayed in your home seven years or the full 30 year term - you'll have created equity and should be able to sell your house for more than you owe.

Homeownership comes with plenty of financial perks, including an income tax credit for property taxes you pay on your home. For detailed information on tax breaks check out IRS.gov. Buying a home also affords you the opportunity to halt your housing costs. Rent will always go up from year to year, but if you have a fixed-rate mortgage (avoid adjustable rates) your biggest annual expense - housing costs - will be locked-in.

Mortgage interest is a good deal when stacked up against other types of interest that don't do much for you - such as high credit card interest rates or low rates on savings accounts and CDs. Mortgage rates are low right now, meaning you can pay less over the life of a loan than at practically any other time in recent history. Plus, it's the only kind of interest that you can deduct from your taxes.

Prices are still relatively low and inventory is high. It's been a buyer's market for a long time, but that's going to change. The question is: when will the market start to improve in your area, taking home prices with it? You'll have to do some legwork and astute research to determine when is the best time for you to buy.

If you monitor your credit and are on a sound financial footing, buying a home can still be a good idea. And now is as good a time as any to make your purchase.
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Time-Saving Laundry Tips

July 27, 2012 4:20 pm

Life is full of adventures, and no one wants to spend valuable family or free time in the laundry room. But between messy meals and everyday oopses, stains are bound to happen.

Aside from letting your washer and dryer do the heavy lifting, there are a few tricks of the trade worth keeping in mind when it comes to protecting clothing items, according to laundry expert Tara Aronson. "There's more to prolonging the life of your garments than simply checking pockets and choosing the right cycle," offers Aronson.

Put these five tips to the test to help better care for your garments, so you can spend less time sorting and treating stains, and more time with the family.

Spot, Treat, and Check - If you spill on a garment, immediately rinse or blot away the stain using cool water to prevent it from setting. Make sure to read fabric care labels and wash accordingly to help clothing last. And before you toss garments into the wash, be sure to double-check the pockets, as well as zip zippers and fasten buttons - this helps cut down on snags, holes, etc.

Sort, Sort, Sort - Sort laundry by color, wash cycle and water temperature required. Make it easier on yourself and your family by placing bins marked for whites, darks, mediums and delicates in your laundry room.

Choose the Right Cycle
- High efficiency appliances, such as the line of Affinity washers and dryers from Frigidaire, can wash clothing on various cycles. This means you can launder sturdy items such as jeans on the permanent press cycle using warm water, causing less agitation, while washing swimsuits, fine knits and undergarments on the delicates cycle with cold water. The Affinity collection also features quick cycles, allowing you to wash and dry a load in 45 minutes, so you can run a full load while preparing dinner for the family.

Double-duty - If your clothing is heavily soiled, extra-large, or you want to use the cold water setting, add extra laundry detergent when you start the cycle. Some high efficiency washers feature a sanitize setting, which uses the hottest water available to thoroughly get rid of germs and grime.

Quick Dry - Dry only full loads—drying only a handful of garments prolongs the drying time by reducing the tumbling. If you have to dry a smaller load, add a few bath towels to help with tumbling.

Source: www.frigidaire.com.
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Word of the Day

July 27, 2012 4:20 pm

Option. The exclusive right to purchase or lease a property at a predetermined price or rent at some future time.
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Q: How Do You Determine How Much a Home Is Worth?

July 27, 2012 4:20 pm

A: The short answer: a home is ultimately worth what is paid for it. Everything else is really an estimate of value. Take, for example, a hot seller’s market when demand for housing is high but the inventory of available homes for sale is low. During this time, homes can sell above and beyond the asking price as buyers bid up the price. The fair market value, or worth, is established when “a meeting of the minds” between you and the buyer takes place.
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Best of The 2012 Idea House – Part 2

July 26, 2012 6:18 pm

Sure, maybe zombie-lovers are flocking to Senoi, Ga., to check out filming of the hit cable series The Walking Dead. But there are also some great ideas to bring your place back from the dead in Senoia, home of the Southern Living 2012 Idea House - a historic 1830 circa farmhouse

In this segment we’ll look at the second half of our Top-10 list of Ballard Designs' hand-picked accessories that are breathing new life into the 2012 Idea House.

6. The Calissse 4-Light Pendant is a classic choice to use over a table, in an entry hall or stairwell. The tiered top and clear glass panes recall the romantic candle lit lantern fixtures of the 19th century. A hinged glass panel door allows easy change of bulbs. Priced at $250.

7. Or how about a Julian Apothecary Lamp? This light is designed in the style of traditional pharmacy lamps, the stem telescope, so you can set it to the perfect height. A pivoting shade and adjustable neck helps focus light exactly where you need it. Priced at $99.

8. Available in 18 different finishes, Ballard’s Louis XVI Armoire stands almost 7 feet tall and offers the storage of an additional closet. This armoire is crafted in Italy with fluted side rails, medallion accents and bulb feet. Paneled doors conceal three adjustable shelves and floating back panels, so you can also use it as a media center. Priced at $1799.

9. To compliment your Louis XVI Armoire, go for the matching dresser, also available in 18 finishes. This single Dresser has nicely turned legs crowned in carved rosettes. Beaded drawers with antique brass ring pulls feature protective dust panels and hand painted Italian paper drawer liners. Priced at $1099.

10. Fill Ballard's versatile Seagrass Hurricane with colorful stones, seasonal balls or submerged blooms. With its grand scale and natural texture, the Southern Living Seagrass Hurricane makes an instant statement, inside or out. Add candles or simple stems to create a memorable centerpiece for any occasion. Priced between $45 and $75.

Want to check out more 2012 Idea House accessories and furnishings? Visit ballarddesigns.com. And to learn about visiting the Senoia area and the 2012 Idea House through December 23, visit southernliving.com.
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