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
June 19, 2012 6:46 pm
A: You most certainly can. During the most recent refinancing boom, for example, many homeowners refinanced their home loans two or three times within relatively short periods of time because interest rates kept treading downward, making it extremely attractive to trade in one loan for another.
Just remember that refinancing is basically like applying for a mortgage all over again. Each time you refinance, you will still have to go through the application process, get a home appraisal, and likely incur closing costs. Also, if you have a pre-payment penalty clause in your present mortgage, you will have to pay that penalty if you refinance. So be certain that it is actually worth it for you to refinance.
June 18, 2012 6:42 pm
While this year's college graduates are facing a tough job market, they can take comfort from the fact that many employers are seeking younger workers. So says Andy Chan, vice president of career development at Wake Forest University.
"Organizations know that younger workers come in with a great deal of energy and new ideas," Chan notes. "And they are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done." But Chan suggests that young people -- like all job seekers -- will stand a better chance of being hired if they avoid these common job search mistakes:
Not being proactive enough: Create a hit list of the companies you would like to work for. Then really utilize your network to create an "in" at these companies. In addition to friends, your network might include parents, grandparents, their friends, your old Scout master, past teachers, and even the people you used to babysit for.
Not creating a customized resume: Listing degrees and past experience is not enough. Use your resume to make a strong statement about yourself, your career goals, and what you can bring to an employer.
Setting expectations too high: Your first job may be just that; a place to learn a great deal, be super busy, and be surrounded by many people in the professional milieu you hope to excel in.
Appearing unprofessional: It's not just about how you look or behave in an interview. Sanitize your Facebook profile and other social media pages and ditch that smart aleck cell phone greeting your friends all find so funny.
Failing to follow up: It also isn't enough to send out resumes, go on interviews, and pray the phone rings. Write thank you notes or emails to the interviewer emphasizing your skills or strengths and hustle to follow up with a phone call to keep your resume from ending up in a slush pile.
June 18, 2012 6:42 pm
"We Can Do It!" was a World War II-era battle cry that empowered women. Today, however, the expression for many women is more like, "We can do it -- if there's time." By their 40s, more than 80 percent of American women are mothers, according to the U.S. census. Meanwhile, they also make up roughly half of the workforce, a percentage that has doubled since Rosie the Riveterâ's proclamation. At least 50 percent of women say they don't have enough free time and 60 percent feel guilty for spending what little time they do have on themselves, according to a survey published in the March issue of Real Simple magazine.
Between motherhood and work, it is crucial that busy women also take time out for themselves, says Saniel Bonder, a wellness coach, Harvard graduate and author of the acclaimed new novel "Ultimaya 1.0: The Trouble with the Wishes of Leopold Stokes."
"Putting things into a new perspective and realizing that a really good mother and home manager -- or a mother who works outside the home -- can't be chronically tired and cranky is a first step to achieving a healthy balance between a mom and her to-do list," he says. Mothering is a marathon, not a sprint, Bonder says. Unhappiness, failure and disappointment are guaranteed when a woman continues to drive competing interests at excessive speeds, he says.
He offers tips for managing a mother's to-do list:
Make "me time" a priority every day. Set aside 5 to 10 inviolable minutes for triaging your day's to-do list early on, when you've got plenty of energy and aren't already overwhelmed. " Do it with 'Mother Bear' fierceness. Go at it with ferocious intention to protect your "cub" -- except in this case, the cub is your own total wellness."
Serve everyone notice. Let your family, friends, and others who depend on you know that for everyone's sake, you are going to take better care of yourself and you're not going to try to be Superwoman any more.
Ruthless ranking. Rank each item 1, 2 or 3 in order of real importance. Make sure your priority is only the most important, and that you actually can do it.
Indulge your inner child. Make at least one of your daily No. 1 priorities something to pamper yourself something you know will really make you feel good but that you think you really don't have time for and shouldn't need.
Talk back to your inner critic. Do this out loud; shout it if you need to! Just say "no" a lot, to that fault-finding perfectionist in your head. You're right. It's wrong!
"Sustainability begins at home, and the true hearth of most homes today is the mother's well-being," Bonder says. Your children need to learn this from how you live, not just what you tell them.
Saniel Bonder received his bachelor's in social relations from Harvard University, partaking in a unique curriculum that focused on the fields of psychology, culture and social behavior.
June 18, 2012 6:42 pm
(ARA) - Shopping for home furnishings and accessories can be a rewarding experience, but it can also drain your wallet. So when it's time to find just the right items to furnish or just brighten up your home, you want to get it right the first time, because most of us don't have the luxury to toss out all our purchases in a couple of years and start from scratch.
So how do you know if that couch or lamp is going to stand the test of time? "Look for something that is built well, like good quality tables that are a little bit older and not mass manufactured," says Claren Pappo, an Interior Design instructor at The Illinois Institute of Art - Tinley Park.
Depending on your decor, antiques may be your best bet. You've probably looked at a few decorating magazines and seen your share of furniture showrooms. That may give you a starting point. "But you need to figure out what you like," advises Heather Carter, academic director of Interior Design at The Art Institutes International - Kansas City. "Think about the connection your home has to you, don't just follow trends."
Color is also important when thinking about the longevity of your future. "Big furniture pieces like sofas and side chairs need to be in a neutral color scheme," recommends Daniela Kohl, Interior Design program coordinator at The Art Institute of Indianapolis. You don't want bright colors that you tire of quickly or can fall out of fashion.
Accessories, like throw pillows, can be trendier with the latest colors because they are much easier and less expensive to replace. But when it comes to lighting, you may want to splurge on something that is both functional and decorative.
"Invest in great lamps; they can stand the test of time," says Pappo. Artwork can really make your home fit your personality, and if you buy something you really like, you'll only grow to appreciate it more over time. "Artwork has great bang for the buck," says Carter. "Go to your local art district or art walk, find an artist you really like and buy their piece."
When picking out drapes or pillows, stick with good quality fabrics like silk or chenille, advises Kohl. Leather furniture will also stand the test of time. But don't go for artificial leather. "It will look worse, year after year," she says.
Finally, Pappo recommends considering how often you'll be moving around. "Think about the flexibility of your furniture and whether the pieces you've chosen will work in another home with a different floor plan."
June 18, 2012 6:42 pm
New Medicare benefits could help keep older people independent, yet many aren't using them. Sometimes that's because they don't know about them. The Affordable Care Act introduced these benefits last year, but with its future in the hands of the Supreme Courts and a decision expected in June, so now is the time to get to the doctor, stat.
"Medicare is complicated. Often, our clients don't know about all the benefits, and their kids feel overwhelmed trying to help them," says Jody Guerrieri, co-founder and vice president of Preferred Care at Home. "But using the benefits can help keep people well and independent. It's important for those of us in the care industry to help people understand them. We'll even drive our clients to the doctor to make getting the services easy."
Here are four Medicare benefits people may not be aware of: Yearly wellness visit:
People with Medicare Part B don't just get the one-time Welcome to Medicare visit anymore. Now, they can meet with their doctor yearly to review their health and develop a personalized prevention plan with no deductible or co-payment involved.
Prescription-drug discount: When people reached the donut-hole coverage gap, they used to have to pay all their medication costs. Now, they get a 50-percent discount on covered brand-name prescription drugs.
Health counseling and therapy: Need to lose weight? Behavioral therapy for obesity is now covered. Want to stop smoking? Counseling is available at no cost if you don't have a related illness. (If you do, it's still covered, but coinsurance and deductibles apply.) You can also get nutrition therapy for diabetes or kidney disease, along with counseling for alcohol misuse and to prevent sexually transmitted infections.
Health screenings: Bone-mass measurement is available at no cost for some people, as are screenings for colorectal cancer and diabetes. Newly covered screenings include those for depression, alcohol misuse and sexually transmitted infections. "Using these benefits can mean staying out of the hospital or nursing home," says Guerrieri. "A good home-care agency should help you do just that--not only through help at home but through support and education."
June 18, 2012 6:42 pm
Joint tenancy. Property owned by two or more persons with equal and undivided interest and ownership and the right of survivorship. If one owner dies, the property automatically passes to the others.
June 18, 2012 6:42 pm
A: Certified historic structures now enjoy a 20 percent investment tax credit for qualified rehabilitation expenses, if they are income producing properties. A historic structure is one listed in the National Register of Historic Places or so designated by an appropriate state or local historic district that is certified by the government. The tax code does not allow deductions for the demolition or significant alteration of a historic structure.
For more information, contact the National Trust for Historic Preservation at (202) 588-6000, or visit its web site at www.nationaltrust.org. Many states offer tax incentives, reductions and abatement programs for owners of residential historic homes.
June 15, 2012 6:34 pm
Abnormal and fluctuating weather conditions have not only left our homes in need of small repairs, but according to the National Pest Management Association, the unseasonably warm weather has also caused the bug season to start earlier.
Steven Kutcher, a Hollywood entomologist with more than 35 years of experience says that during warm weather season, more than 180,000 bugs could pass through your yard and several could make it inside your home through openings you may not even notice. Wear and tear allows easy access for insects through openings such as windows, doors and cracks. The good news is if you are worried about an infestation there are a few tips that you can try before using a pesticide.
To help keep unwanted bugs out of the home Kutcher suggests these simple tips:
• Know Your Bug - If you have a pesky bug you cannot control, catch it and do your research. Put the bug in a glass container and further examine it while doing online research in order to find suggestions to keep them out of the house.
• Prepare for Pests - To help protect your home and family from bug infestation, prepare in advance by having pest products on hand.
• Tackle Your Do-It-Yourself Projects - Bugs enter the home for food, water, protection from the weather and simply by accident. Be sure to tackle your outdoor and indoor DIY projects to repair any damage including weather stripping windows and doors and filling in any cracks in the wall or flooring. The more prepared your home is for peak bug season, the less likely insects and other pests can get in.
• Don't Bring Bugs Home - Shopping at a local flea market or garage sale is a fun way to spend summer days, but beware as bugs may be near. Be sure to check the purchases you make at each location for signs of insects including actual bugs. It's easy to get an infestation if you bring unwanted bugs into your home.
Learning how to tackle common household problems can help you and your family save money and keep everyone happy and healthy. And by ensuring you have the know-how and tools on hand, you can maintain and enjoy your home for years to come.
June 15, 2012 6:34 pm
When it comes to creating a workout regimen, there are many resources with helpful tips covering everything from stretching to strength training. But what you do after your workout can make the difference in the way you feel and perform. A hard workout can leave your body depleted and running on empty. The correct post-workout nutrition can help replace what you've lost and help your body refuel for the next workout, and post workout recovery activities are crucial.
Post Workout Active Recovery Techniques
In addition to recovery benefits from proper post-workout nutrition, an athlete's after-workout regimen should include active recovery techniques in the hours following intense exercise. Active recovery and rest days are linked to performance benefits.
• Cool down. To help your body bounce back, muscles must cool down. Light active recovery after a race will increase circulation and get your body back on track.
• Stretch. Stretch directly after exercise (or after a foam roll session) while muscles are warm. Stretching increases blood flow to muscle fibers, stimulates recovery and helps prevent injury.
• Massage. A massage helps release muscle tension and increases blood flow, which will help speed up the muscle repair process.
• Foam Roll. Foam rollers are like a self-massage and easy to travel with to training or competition. Foam rolling uses deep compression to help roll out muscle adhesions that develop over time, helping restore the muscle to its original length. The compression causes your nerves to relax -- a myofascial release -- which loosens the muscle and increases blood flow, all of which help your body recover.
• Ice. Within two hours of a very strenuous workout, ice muscles to reduce post-workout inflammation and swelling and decrease muscle soreness.
June 15, 2012 6:34 pm
Interim financing. Short-term loan usually made during the construction phase of a building project or until a permanent, long-term loan can be obtained. Also called a construction loan.