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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

8 Ways to Save Money on Airfare

April 30, 2012 5:48 pm

If summer travel is in your plans, there are a few tips to consider that may help you save a bundle on airfare, according to Joe Brancatelli, publisher of the website, Joesentme.com.

“On a single flight, there can be more than a dozen pricing categories,” Brancatelli says. He offers these tips to help you snag the best deals in the air:

• Book six weeks in advance – Data collected over four years shows that while some of the best deals may be found at other times, booking 42 days in advance of your flight will generally save you money.
• Check for morning deals – Although some airlines offer discounted tickets all day, the early morning is the best time to find discounted fares.
• Check on Tuesday afternoons – According to farecompare.com, many discount deals are offered online on Tuesdays at 3 p.m. Eastern time.
• Fly on Wednesdays – Flying on a Wednesday can net you airfare discounts, with Tuesdays and Saturdays not far behind. Those are the days when the most empty seats often require discounting to fill the plane.
• Fly early – While it may mean getting up well before sunrise, you will find the first flights of any morning are always the cheapest, studies show.
• Check low-cost airlines individually - Comparison sites like kayak.com don't necessarily do all the work. Some low-cost airlines, like Southwest in the United States and Ryanair in Europe, don't allow their tickets to be quoted on popular comparison websites. So check them separately.
• Sign up for free alerts - Almost every major online booking site offers airfare alerts that ping you when fare prices fall. AirfareWatchdog.com stands out from the pack.
• Build a relationship - Elite members of an airline's frequent-flyer program, or those who have a credit card tied to the airline, automatically have a leg-up on being offered lower fares. Also, credit cards tied to the airlines offer perks that were once standard, such as free checked bags, priority boarding, and seat selection, so they may be worth signing up for if you fly frequently on one airline.
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Top 10 Cities for Post-Grads

April 30, 2012 5:48 pm

Are you wondering where 2012’s collegiate will be scurrying off to after graduating this May? Well now you can put your curiosity to rest; Rent.com researched cities across the country and has compiled a list highlighting 10 great cities for the post-grad set based on unemployment rates, mean annual income, cost of living, and rental inventory (in no particular order): 

• Boston, Mass. – A low unemployment rate and high mean income attracts career-minded young professionals. The character of a college town makes for a smooth transition, in which nightlife options abound.
• Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.– The Twin Cities truly combine natural beauty with the benefits of an urban center. With an unemployment rate well below the national average, finding a job shouldn’t be a stressful task in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
• Seattle, Wash. – The perfect city for a new class of intellectuals, Seattle offers a well-educated workforce as well as plenty of outdoor adventure and foodie cuisine.
• Houston, TX – Houston is known for cost-competitive housing and a favorable cost of living. Add to that a diverse mix of jobs and commuter-friendly transportation, and Houston has a lot to offer for new grads.
• Baltimore, Md. – The Charm City is a friendly place to live and play, with a diverse cultural scene and more than 200 unique neighborhoods to call home.
• Dallas, TX – With the hospitality of Texas and the modernity of a sophisticated city, Dallas offers all of the benefits of big city living without the big city price tag – the cost of living is well below the national average.
• Kansas City, Mo. – Healthy living and an eco-friendly lifestyle are just one part of the booming downtown of Kansas City. It’s also known for barbecue and jazz – so very grown up chic, right?
• Raleigh, N.C. – People of all ages move to Raleigh for affordable housing and temperate weather. With an economy based on three local universities, post-grads looking for jobs in industries like biotech or computers will thrive in these North Carolina cities.
• Washington, DC – A favorably low unemployment rate and high mean annual income make Washington, DC a smart choice for new young professionals. The federal city also offers entertainment for everyone, from nightlife and world-class dining to cultural institutions.
• Austin, TX – A quickly growing city, Austin boasts a low cost of living and neighborhoods with character ranging from funky to serene. A thriving music scene will inspire recent grads to partake in the arts.

Source: Rent.com
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House-Obsessed Homeowners Get Inspired by Social Media

April 30, 2012 5:48 pm

The Internet makes it easier than ever before to find home improvement inspiration. Social networking sites have taken the place of word of mouth between neighbors, and popular sites like Houzz and Pinterest let users share ideas and opinions on home trends with a seemingly endless social network.

"It is impossible to ignore the impact of social media and digital tools on home design trends," says Jeff Kaliner, Power Home Remodeling Group’s Founding Partner. "Whether their motivation is to keep up with the Joneses or to give their home some personality, these sites spark the imagination of homeowners looking to improve their home's appearance — and the sky's the limit when it comes to inspiration." 

Below are four areas where the Internet helps homeowners turn their home improvement inspiration into reality:

• Social media – Consumers stay tuned to home improvement news and trends by following their favorite companies on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These sites provide an opportunity for customers to build relationships with contractors and retailers, have direct access to a company's knowledge and expertise, and quickly spread the word about home improvement projects to their family and friends.
• Inspiration boards – New sites like Houzz and Pinterest are examples of the visual trend in social networking. Users cull through thousands of images with the ability to save their favorites into personalized categories called 'ideabooks' or 'pinboards.' For example, if a homeowner is in the market for a new entry door, they can visit Houzz, search for entry door inspiration and save their favorites. Later when they are meeting with a contractor, they can revisit these choices to easily communicate what they are looking for. Similarly, home improvement professionals can use the site to highlight their work as inspiration for others. The most popular content is heavily shared among users and home design trends begin to emerge.
• Virtual home remodelers and home management websites – Home improvement companies are making it easier than ever for homeowners to manage their home on the web. Popular big box retailers have designed complex home management websites to help homeowners store paint colors, product numbers and other detailed information as a way to capture consumers' attention online and cultivate customer loyalty. Similarly, Power customers are encouraged to test the look of Power products on their home's facade with the company's virtual home remodeler. The tool, which can be accessed through Power's Facebook page and website, allows homeowners to select a variety of siding, roofing, window and door styles and colors to see what their remodeled home would look like.
• Do-it-yourself and design blogs – The popularity of home improvement, design and do-it-yourself bloggers has grown exponentially in recent years. Loyal readers follow blogs for trends, ideas and inspiration by reading through the trials and tribulations of bloggers who document a variety of home-related projects.

For more information, visit www.PowerHRG.com.

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Home Buying Basics: Why You Need a Home Inspection

April 30, 2012 5:48 pm

April is National Home Inspection Month, and homeowners across the country are learning about the benefits of having a home inspection—an important step in the home buying and selling process. Whether your home is on the market or you simply want to maintain its condition, enlist the help of a trustworthy home inspector to ensure that your current or potential home is in optimal condition. 

When buying a home, a home inspection determines its structural and mechanical condition. If there are any problems, your inspector will make them known and estimate costs for repair. You can then determine if the cost of dealing with these issues is worth the listed price of the home or if more negotiation is required. 

If you are selling your home, a potential buyer is likely to enlist a home inspector, but you can arrange your own home inspection to prepare. They will help you identify any issues that need fixing, so that you can present your home as structurally and mechanically sound home. 

Even if you're not in the process of buying or selling, home inspection is important to the upkeep of your property. Prevention is more affordable than treatment—and a home inspector will help you identify issues before they become a serious problem. For example, a home inspector could identify a hole in your roof; left untreated, you may need an expensive new roof, but caught by a home inspector, you may only require an inexpensive patching service. 

A home inspector will examine your home for structural and safety issues. They will determine if your foundation has been damaged by renovations or termites, and verify the condition of support beams. They will also check for safety hazards, including rotting steps, loose railings, and faulty locks.
Your home inspector also knows to look for problems with wiring and electrical boxes, as well as plumbing issues. Water damage can be a deal-breaker in the sale of many homes, and a home inspection can identify potentially costly leaks. 

Source: AmeriSpec®

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Word of the Day

April 30, 2012 5:48 pm

Easement. Limited right to cross or use for some specified purpose the property of another. It may be permanent or temporary. Water, sewage, and utility suppliers frequently hold an easement across private property.
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Question of the Day

April 30, 2012 5:48 pm

Q: Are 40-year mortgages a good idea?
A
: The main reason buyers sign on for these type of loans, which add 10 years to the traditional 30-year mortgage, is to take advantage of smaller monthly payments.
According to real estate experts, the shorter-term loan is usually more advantageous for the homebuyer. The drawback becomes apparent simply by calculating the cost of additional interest payments, which can total thousands for the privilege of just saving the difference of a few dollars in monthly mortgage payments.
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Pest Problem? Survey Shows You’re Not Alone.

April 27, 2012 3:36 pm

Have you ever had a pest invasion in your home? Then you may not be surprised to learn that 84 percent of America's homeowners experienced a pest problem in the past 12 months, according to a national survey by HomeTeam Pest Defense. The top pest issues for homeowners in the last year were ants (49 percent), spiders (43 percent), flies (37 percent), mosquitoes (34 percent), mice (30 percent) and wasps (29 percent).

"Pests have appeared earlier than usual this year due to warm winter, early spring and recent heavy rains," saysRuss Horton, national technical director for HomeTeam Pest Defense. "We have already seen termite swarms in Texas, Georgia and Florida, odorous house ants in the Mid-Atlantic, and scorpions in Arizona."

Additionally, HomeTeam's national survey found that 80 percent of homeowners are concerned about pests in their home. The top pests homeowners worry about are termites, cockroaches, rats, bed bugs and mice. Termites are the greatest pest concern, worrying one in four, and 13 percent actually experienced termites in the last 12 months. Nearly one quarter (22 percent) of homeowners have experienced structural damage to their home from a pest problem.

Eighty percent of homeowners are also concerned about being exposed to bed bugs when traveling, and most (81 percent) are not confident they know how to prevent bringing bed bugs into their home.

While many homeowners (54 percent) treated pest problems on their own, two-thirds of the do-it-yourselfers were unable to resolve their problem completely. Half of homeowners (51 percent) say using a pest control service is a necessity, and working with a company that guarantees its work was very important to almost everyone (95 percent). Treatments that will not harm children and pets were a high priority for 80 percent.

"There are easy ways to help lower your risk of infestation now and throughout the spring and summer," adds Horton.

HomeTeam offers the following quick tips to prepare your home and prevent pest infestations:

• Seal cracks and small openings around doors, windows, garage doors and utility entry points.
• Get rid of standing water around the home.
• Cut back tree branches and bushes, keeping them away from the side of the house and roof.
• Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
• Fix dripping taps and leaking pipes to remove the water and humidity that some pests need to survive.
• Empty garbage cans and recycle bins regularly.
• Store food in sealed containers on countertops, cupboards or in the refrigerator.

Additional data is available from the HomeTeam Pest Defense survey related to national pest trends and the pest control habits of homeowners, as well as highlights from the four major regions of the country and several local markets. The survey also revealed interesting findings in:

• Parenting/Children: Forty-five percent of parents with children age 6-17 are not confident their child knows which pests are harmful and should be avoided.
• Pets: Fleas and ticks remain the top pest issues for pets. More than half (53 percent) of pet owners have ever experienced an issue with fleas.
• Real Estate: Half of people (51 percent) say they don't think about pests when house hunting, but several pests including termites, bed bugs, rodents and cockroaches are deal breakers if seen in a potential home.

Source: www.rollins.com, www.pestdefense.com.
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Trend Watch: Color and Customize Your Kitchen

April 27, 2012 3:36 pm

(ARA) - If you want your home to reflect your personal style, why not start in the kitchen? The kitchen, commonly the most popular room in the house for everyday life and entertaining, doesn't have to be cookie cutter with coordinating color schemes.

Current trends give homeowners leeway to add personal flair to the kitchen with bursts of color, unique designs and unexpected patterns.

Walls painted in neutral hues, and appliances and fixtures in monochromatic finishes, create a nice "blank canvas" that you can dress up with bold accessories or patterned fabrics.

If you want to kick up your kitchen decor another notch, explore your color options. Colorful kitchen products and appliances abound. Mixers, blenders, teapots and even faucets are available in a variety of colors, such as blue, red, pink or yellow and can add an unexpected pop to your space.

"Color blocking is something that is trending in both fashion and interior design," says Judd Lord, Delta Faucet Company director of industrial design. "People want to express themselves through home decor just like they do with their own style."

If you want to stay on top of current trends, then try experimenting with the 2012 Pantone color of the year - Tangerine Tango. Radiating warmth and energy, the bright hue can energize a room. Incorporate the color on a small scale with table linens or go bold and paint one of the walls to add dimension.

You can also spice things up by creating a more eclectic look. One way to do this is by mixing and matching cabinetry hardware designs. There are many different styles, sizes, colors and materials, making it easy create your own custom space. Or switch up your kitchen table and chairs, using different styles instead of a matching set. Try an antique table with chairs that are structured and modern or upholstered with a variety of bold patterns. Add in a bench on one side to make it even more unexpected.

For more of a subtle, eclectic look, combine a variety of dinnerware pieces that hang together with one consistent thread, such as bold color or an unexpected pattern. The best part is you don't have to stress if you break a plate, can't find the exact piece to match the collection, or have more guests than matching dinner sets.

Customize your kitchen space by adding a hint of color or playing around with mixing and matching wherever you feel comfortable. You're going to spend a lot of time in your kitchen, so have fun with it and make it your own.

Source: www.aracontent.com
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Word of the Day

April 27, 2012 3:36 pm

Earnest money deposit. Money that accompanies an offer to purchase as evidence of good faith. It is almost always a personal check, certified check, or money order rather than cash.
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Question of the Day

April 27, 2012 3:36 pm

Q: My budget won’t allow for expensive add-ons; is there another way to find and make space?
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.
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