RE/MAX 440
Cheryl Goedeke
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie, PA   18944
Phone: 267-664-2288
Office Phone: 215-453-7653
Fax: 267-354-6833
email: cheryl@remax440.com
Cheryl Goedeke

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How to Keep Children Happy with Kid-Friendly Spaces

September 16, 2014 4:33 am

(BPT) - Would a great study space ease your child's transition from summer to school? Perhaps an awesome lounge area could convince your teens - and all their friends - that your house is the best hangout spot ever. Whatever your objectives, a few design and decorating tricks can help you create a kid-friendly space in your home.

Good design basics that make grown-up spaces appealing also work in children's spaces. When designing a kid-friendly room, however, it's important to keep in mind not only the purpose of the room (study, fun, sleep, etc.), but the age of the occupant, his or her interests, as well as incorporating fun into the design. Here are some tips to get you started:

Consider creating a theme.
Kids of all ages love themes. To decide which one might be right for your project, consider things your child has shown an enduring interest in. For example, she may be into princesses right now and hate the theme next year. On the other hand, if she's always loved the color pink and has a passion for animals, those elements could be worked into a theme that she'll appreciate for years to come.

Choose flooring that fulfills multiple needs. Carpeting absorbs sound (for when kids play loud video games or music) and is comfortable for youngsters who like to sit or lie on the floor while they do homework, read, watch television or socialize. Stain-resistant formulas and durable fibers ensure modern carpeting can stand up to the rigors of use in a child's room. And, according to the Carpet & Rug Institute, properly cleaned carpet can maintain indoor air quality, making it a viable choice for families impacted by asthma and allergies.

A child's space needs layers of lighting, just as adult spaces do. As you're choosing lighting, keep in mind how your child will use the room. If he will be doing homework, task lighting and desk lights will illuminate study areas. Will the room be a movie room or a "hangout" for older teens? Recessed and dimmable lighting may be appropriate. Don't forget to include natural light in your illumination plans. Avoid heavy drapery and opt for bright colors and lightweight materials for window treatments so windows admit ample light. If you have a larger budget, consider adding a skylight to provide light while preserving privacy.

Organization is key in a child's room, and ample storage facilitates good organization. Depending on the size of the room and how it will be used, shelving, portable cubes, book cases and other furnishings can provide plenty of storage space. For desks, look for desktop organizers that will keep important papers and supplies tidy and close at hand. By helping kids stay organized now, you'll be laying the foundation for a lifetime of good organizational skills.

Remember the fun factor. Whatever the purpose of a child's room, fun should be a universal theme. You can infuse fun in a room in many ways, from creating a video game center for lounge rooms to choosing colorful, texturally appealing carpeting for a bedroom. A touch of whimsy, such as a swing hung from the ceiling or a wall mural of your child's favorite cartoon character, can produce smiles every time kids see them.

With some creativity and the right decorating materials, it's possible to create a space that will make children comfortable, happy and ready to tackle the new school year.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Mortgage Rates Continue to Show Little Movement

September 16, 2014 4:33 am

Freddie Mac recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moved only slightly upward compared to the previous week following the increase in bond yields.

“Mortgage rates were up slightly this week, following the increase in 10-year Treasury yields, despite last week’s disappointing employment report,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac. “The U.S. economy added only 142,000 jobs in August, after a 212,000 gain in July and a 267,000 increase in June.”

The survey concluded:
  • 30-year fixed mortgage rate (FRM) average 4.12 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending September 11, 2014, up from last week when it averaged 4.10 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.57 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.26 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.24 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.59 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) average 2.99 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it average 2.97 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.22 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury indexed ARM averaged 2.45 percent this week with an average of 0.4 points, up from last week when it averaged 2.40 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.67 percent.
Source: Freddie Mac

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Five Financial Lessons to Learn at a Young Age

September 16, 2014 4:33 am

If you want to secure a good financial future, it is important to develop good habits as early as possible. Even in childhood, people can begin to become financially responsible by doing small jobs to earn money and putting all or most of the money they receive in a savings account. By the time they reach their 20s, the lessons are a bit more complex, especially for those who did not have a solid financial foundation to begin with. Young adulthood is the perfect time to learn these important financial lessons. Creditnet.com, a leading online authority for finances, has announced these top five lessons consumers should learn at a young age:

Building Up Savings
It is never too early to start saving. In fact, due to compound interest, it is best to start as early as possible. A hundred dollars deposited in a savings account at the age of 20 will be worth far more in the long run than a hundred dollars deposited at the age of 30. For example, putting $10,000 in the bank when you're 20 will get you over $210,000 by the time you're 60. If you put the same amount in when you're 30, you'll only get about $160,000 at the age of 60. It may be difficult to think about the distant future at such a young age, but when it comes to retirement, many people wish that they had starting saving when they were much younger.

Saving at Regular Intervals
While it would be nice to put a large chunk of cash away in savings, most people don't have that kind of money lying around. Instead, the thing to do is to contribute to savings regularly. Commit to putting a set amount aside every month; at least a hundred dollars a month is an ideal amount. In many cases, you can have this money automatically withdrawn from your paychecks into your savings account so that it will accumulate almost without your noticing.

Avoiding Bad Debt and Securing Good Debt
Generally speaking, you should not buy anything that you can't pay for. It is all too easy to get into the habit of buying things on credit when you don't have the money to back it up. Unless you know for a fact that you can pay it off before it's due, you should not buy something with your credit card. Instead, you should learn to be frugal, avoiding unnecessary expenses like dinners out, magazine subscriptions and new clothes. However, it can be a good idea to acquire debt for the sake of a large purchase, such as a house. The key is to remember all of the expenses involved with a house beyond just the mortgage and not buy something out of your price range.

Getting Insurance Early
When you're young, it may seem silly to pay out a significant amount of money every month for something that you don't see benefiting you. However, it becomes harder and harder to get good insurance the older you get. You want to have a reliable policy in place so that when you need it, the insurance is available to you. If you don't pay for insurance early, you may end up having to pay much more later on.

Being Financially Aware
Finally, it's important to treat your finances like a priority. You don't have to make a lot of money to be in fairly solid financial shape. As long as you plan ahead and make wise decisions regarding the funds you bring in and the ways that you spend it, you will have at least some tools to help you get ahead in a fiscally challenging world.

Money causes a lot of stress in people's lives, but that stress can be diminished if you get an early start on being financially responsible. Save as much as you can as often as you can, don't go into debt unless you absolutely have to, and buy insurance even if it doesn't seem necessary to stay ahead of the game.

Source: Creditnet

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Five Tips for Hassle-Free Holiday Shopping

September 15, 2014 4:33 am

Looking to take the stress out of your holiday shopping this season?

Planning ahead and taking steps to protect yourself and your purchases can relieve a lot of shopping-induced stress, according to Jeff Unterreiner, a senior vice president with Assurant Solutions. Unterreiner offers these tips to help ensure your shopping this holiday season is hassle-free:

Budget planning

The easiest way to overspend is to approach your shopping without a budget. Determine ahead of time what you can afford to spend overall, and make sure the gifts on your list fit within your means. A smart strategy: leave yourself a little padding to accommodate potential budget-busting treasures you discover along the way.

Shop early
Start your shopping well ahead of the holidays to spare yourself the headache of unending lines and sold out shelves. Doing so can also help you save money, because it will give you more time to look for sales and promotions. When it comes to larger purchases, be sure you know the return policy and keep an eye on sales even after you buy. If the item is offered for a lower price within a certain timeframe, you may be able to get the difference refunded.

Reward programs
Take advantage of the many reward cards and incentive programs that let you earn cash back, goods and discounts. The holiday season is a great time to sign up, as many retailers offer bonus programs and extra perks for shoppers. In some cases, those rewards can be used immediately to trim your shopping budget or find something nice for yourself as a reward for being a savvy shopper.

Protect purchases
Many of the most-wanted gifts this season, like electronics and jewelry, are also the easiest to break or lose. Ensure your gifts keep giving long into the future by protecting your purchases with extended service plans. These plans offer a range of protection from things like mechanical breakdown, accidental damage, loss and theft, as well as services such as tech support. This protection can last long after the manufacturer's warranty expires.

Beat fraud

The frenzy of the holiday season can make you vulnerable to theft. Be sure you're using a debit or credit card that offers protection in the event of unauthorized purchases. If you don't already, now is also an ideal time to pay closer attention to your transaction log so you can quickly address any unfamiliar charges.

Source: Assurant Solutions

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Coupon Nation: Nearly All Americans Save with Coupons

September 15, 2014 4:33 am

RetailMeNot, a leading digital offers destination that helps consumers save money, recently reported that nearly all Americans (96 percent) are coupon users.

According to the report, the number of Americans who rely mostly on mobile coupons has been steadily increasing over the past few years. This consumer behavior coincides with retailers and brands moving their marketing promotions to mobile and digital formats.

Based on the level of coupon click activity in relation to each city's population, these are the top 10 metro areas that use coupons:
1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metro
2. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metro
3. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metro
4. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT Metro
5. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA Metro
6. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metro
7. Pittsburgh, PA Metro
8. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro
9. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro
10. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY Metro
In the top 10 active couponing metros, clothing and food categories ranked consistently at the top for click activity, followed by electronics and home and garden.

The report also shows that interest in different types of deals varies:
  • Coupon users living in the Northeast are more likely than those living in other regions to be most interested in receiving a specific percentage off a purchase.
  • Those living in the South are more likely than those living elsewhere to be most interested in "buy one, get one free" deals.
  • More than 2 in 5 (43 percent) coupon users consider discounts up to 25 percent to be a good deal.
  • Respondents are most interested in deals that offer a specific dollar amount off of their purchase (30 percent).
Source: RetailMeNot

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Four Steps to Reclaim Your Space after Life Changes

September 15, 2014 4:33 am

Life events like purchasing a new home or a child moving out can leave homeowners facing a bare and empty room -- and a decorating challenge.

Decor&You, one of America's leading, full-service, interior decorating franchises, understands how overwhelming this process can feel. To begin the transformation, the company’s design experts encourage homeowners to visualize their empty space as a blank canvas where they have the opportunity to create a masterpiece.

"Finding yourself in a position to completely design a room is a rare occasion and can be exciting," stated Karen Powell, founder and CEO of Decor&You. "While the idea of decorating a room from scratch appears daunting, maintain a positive attitude and harness the situation as an opportunity to reclaim your space and make it your own. With the right approach, you can make the task of decorating into an enjoyable experience."

Powell offers these simple guidelines to create a space you love:
  • Assess the room: The first step in design is to get acquainted with the room. Gather measurements, make notes of large windows, doors and built-in shelves, and familiarize yourself with the geometry and space provided. By learning the shape of the room, you'll have insight into what furniture and décor pieces will best complement the room's silhouette.
  • Find something you love: The next step is to determine the overall theme. While it's typical to be overwhelmed by an infinite selection of colors, selecting a theme helps the rest of the room’s décor fall easily into place. One of the most effective strategies to ensure organized and cohesive décor is to start with something that you love. Whether it is a large sofa, a tiny, eccentric statement piece, a color, pattern or piece of art, this focal theme will dictate the remainder of the decorating process.
  • Make it happen: Reflect back on your theme and what you love; then, start with the basics. How can you create a background to support the color(s) in your theme? Where and how can you incorporate these via paint, wall coverings, pillows, bedding, a throw, an area rug, etc.? What is needed for the function of the room?
  • Elaborate: After you have decided on a wall color and furniture pieces, the final detail is to place everything thoughtfully. Ponder the purpose of the room and picture yourself living in the space. Consider what it's lacking in order to reach its full, functional potential. This is the time to emphasize "you". Visualize different embellishments. Try turning a hobby, such as a painting easel or book collection, into a display, or create a gallery by placing photos in matching frames.
Source: Decor&You

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Ten Reasons Why Children Should Volunteer

September 12, 2014 3:57 am

Back-to-school season ushers in a renewed focus on everything from academics to athletics, but many parents are challenged to find positive ways for their kids to spend time when they're not at school. The best way to keep them occupied is through volunteer work.

"Volunteering with your kids touches hearts, teaches important life lessons and engraves fond, lifelong memories of family bonding," said Leigh Ann Errico, CEO and founder of Wear the Cape and the kidkind foundation. "Understanding and participating in activities to benefit the community is crucial to weaving one's moral fiber."

Here, Wear the Cape organizers outline the top 10 reasons why children should volunteer:

1: Volunteering helps foster empathy.
Empathy is the most critical disposition for responding to the needs of others. We need to be able to imagine what other people may be going through or feeling. Volunteering helps engage our natural empathic sense, but you have to make sure that there are opportunities to talk about the purpose and experience of any volunteer activity if the recipients aren't visible in the process. For example, making sandwiches for the homeless isn’t the same as delivering those sandwiches to the homeless.

2: Volunteering helps develop a sense of self-efficacy.
Children may understand that other people need help or that there are projects that could make a community more habitable or productive, but feel helpless or unclear that an individual can do anything about it in response. Volunteering can provide experiences that affirm a young person's sense that they can make a difference through their own effort and skills. These experiences can empower young people to apply themselves in other contexts, including school and other organized activities, such as faith-based youth groups or scouting.

3: Volunteers gain experience working with other people.
Social skills are best learned in social situations. When people come together to engage in a meaningful task, issues of communication, power, collaboration and trust rise to the surface in a supportive context. It's easier, although still a challenge, to learn to navigate these waters with others who may be more skillful and be in a position to offer supportive feedback. It's a good way for parents and children to see each other in a different light, as well, and learn together.

4: Volunteering develops new skills.
In addition to social skills, using physical and mental capabilities to get jobs done is fundamental to successful work of any kind. In school, these skills are often fragmented or unrelated to real-world applications. Service activities offer the chance to apply and test our abilities, as well as learn from other kids or adults in a way that engages kids' natural drive for competence.

5: Volunteering provides the opportunity to explore new interests and develop new passions.
There is nothing more exhilarating than discovering a new field of interest that sparks a real passion for learning and doing. One of the wonderful things about being children is their inquisitiveness and motivation to investigate and find meaning. Service activities have the potential to expose them to these opportunities and see how other people live their passions.

6: Volunteers learn a lot.
In the process of joining with others in service, volunteers learn about their community and the larger world. It takes children out of their own spheres of self-interest and exposes them to issues and solutions, as well as other people's needs.

7: Volunteers actually make a difference in other people's lives.
Think about how much more impoverished our communities would be if all of the volunteer services disappeared. This is a lesson that children can be taught early and take with them into adulthood. For example, volunteers are critical in:
  • Helping families (daycare and eldercare)
  • Improving schools (tutoring, literacy)
  • Supporting youth (mentoring and after-school programs)
  • Beautifying the community (beach and park cleanups)
8: Volunteering encourages civic responsibility.
Community service and volunteerism are a way to teach the importance of investing in the community and the people who live in it. We want our kids to not only be successful in their work and personal lives, but to learn what it means to be a citizen. The American values of democratic decision-making, social justice and equal opportunity require active participation.

9: Volunteering offers you a chance to give back.
It's important for children to see that there are small and large opportunities to support community resources that their family uses or that benefit people they care about. Whether it's offering to help man a booth to support improvements in a park they use, or joining a fundraising walk to support research for a disease that afflicts a family member or friend, children and adults alike can feel empowered through participation.

10: Volunteering is good for you.
Research has consistently shown that acting altruistically has real benefits. Volunteering provides physical and mental rewards. It has been shown to reduce stress, make you healthier and make you happier.

Source: Wear the Cape

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Flood Cleanup: What to Do After a Storm

September 12, 2014 3:57 am

With forecasters predicting a more severe and dramatic storm season in 2014, home and business owners should be prepared for any type of weather. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration and Certification (IICRC) offers a quick-reference guide for flood cleanup.

“When it comes to storms, education is essential,” said IICRC Chairman Tony Wheelwright. “We want to make sure homeowners and business owners have access to these materials so they are able to act quickly and correctly when the time comes.”

The IICRC recommends taking these steps:

1. Prepare before.
If a storm in your area is imminent and you are at a high risk for flooding, make sure you are prepared. Before the storm hits, gather valuable items or documents and store them in a secure, dry place. Clear all debris from gutters and downspouts and check your sump pump to ensure it is working properly. You will also want to remove items from lower floors or raise them up off of the floor to help minimize damage to property.

2. Stay cautious.
Prior to entering any storm or flood-damaged building, be wary of structural integrity and other safety hazards, such as falling debris or shock hazards. Make sure to shut off all electricity in the affected areas, even if the electricity is down, as it is oftentimes restored without notice.

Also, make sure that you have the proper personal protective equipment and try to stay out of floodwaters as much as possible to further reduce the risk of injury. Items such as protective clothing, sturdy shoes, gloves, eye protection and an organic vapor respirator (paint respirator) can protect you from exposure to dangerous microorganisms that can grow quickly.

3. Work quickly. Even though it can take mold a few days to appear, anything that can be done to control or minimize its speed of growth is vital. Mold thrives in moist environments with stale air, organic food sources (paper, wood) and temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. To reduce these risks, keep air moving by opening windows and doors. Fresh air discourages the growth of mold and other microorganisms and can also help reduce inhalation risks.

4. Clean and disinfect everything. The first step in the cleanup process is to remove and dispose of all, wet porous components such as mattresses, pillows, molding, insulation and portions of damaged walls. This also includes floor coverings such as carpet, pads, laminate, tile and sheet vinyl. Wood flooring should also be removed to expose wet saturation pockets underneath and allow for proper drying, cleaning and sanitizing.

Other items such as wet clothing, furniture and household fabrics can usually be salvageable after a hot machine wash, a lengthy detergent soak and the liberal use of a disinfectant solution. Structural areas such as wall cavities, studs and other fixtures will also need to be properly disinfected. This can be done by pressure washing with detergent solutions working from top to bottom.

5. Dry it out. The next step is to allow the space to dry thoroughly before reconstruction. This is possibly the most difficult step for home and business owners because even if a surface feels dry to the touch, that doesn’t mean it is. Dryness is very difficult to measure and often requires a professional moisture assessment.

Beginning your reconstruction before your space is thoroughly dry can cause dry rot, ongoing structural damage and negative health effects. In most cases, the above procedures may require the assistance of a professional. Water damage restoration companies employ trained technicians who specialize in cleaning, biocides, extraction, drying and moisture measuring. Make sure, however, that the company you choose has proper licensing, liability insurance and employs trained technicians in water restoration services.

Source: IICRC

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Five Ways to Help Your Plants Survive Winter

September 12, 2014 3:57 am

During the fall cool-down, it’s important to take time to prepare your plants for impending winter weather. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Polar Vortex is on track to return in 2014, with temperatures plummeting during winter months. Homeowners with gardens must protect their plantings early this fall to avoid the harsh effects of cold weather to come.

Below are five of the most common garden varieties, and ways to prepare them for the first frost:

1. Hydrangeas: To keep them safe this winter, start by tracking the weather. When temperatures will be consistently below freezing, cover the crown of your hydrangea with mulch, leaves or straw before snow arrives. Snow insulates the crown and keeps it alive.

If you don’t have snow, be sure the crown is fully protected by covering the plant with a garbage bag full of leaves. Alternatively, you can plant a re-blooming hydrangea that blooms on previous year's growth and new growth. That means that even if a cold winter kills buds on last season's growth, you will still see blooms on new growth in late spring and summer.

2. Roses:
Roses can mean apprehension for many gardeners, especially when it comes to cold winter hardiness in the northern part of the United States. Cover new plantings with mulch, oak leaves or marsh hay in an 8-inch mound from the crown once temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and the plant has gone completely dormant. An added tip: keep the plants disease-free throughout winter and spring by raking away fallen leaves and petals before mulching or snowfall.

3. Evergreens: To prevent winter burn, plant varieties of evergreen that are extremely cold-tolerant and will survive even the worst of winters. If you have a collector plant or two that tends to struggle in the winter, cover it with burlap or other material for the coldest and windiest days. If you have heavy snow and notice branches breaking under the weight, brush snow off the weakest limbs.

4. Trees: If your trees are starting to change color earlier than normal, especially in these first weeks of September, it may be a sign of stress. This can be caused by poor soil conditions, too much or too little water, or if the tree is planted too deeply. You can either transplant the tree, switch to weekly watering of your lawn, or grade the soil so that the root flare (where the trunk flares out to the root system) is even with the soil level.

5. Container Plantings: As you prepare for winter, there are a few options for homeowners to protect container plants: treat them like annuals, tossing the plants away and start fresh the next spring; plant in the ground to over-winter the shrubs; or keep the containers and protect them from the winter cold.

Looking ahead to another colder-than-average winter may seem discouraging, but with a few extra preparations, homeowners and gardeners can set the stage for a beautiful and blooming spring.

Source: Bailey Nurseries

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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10 Things to Consider When Adding on to Your Home

September 11, 2014 3:45 am

A home addition is a complicated task requiring a great deal of planning and, sometimes, a great deal of money. In order to save time, stress, and dollars, consider the following checklist before embarking on your home improvement plan.
  1. Develop a comprehensive plan and budget
  2. Figure out how to fund the project
  3. Determine the size and scope of the addition
  4. Select the location
  5. Analyze heating and cooling requirements
  6. Evaluate electrical and plumbing requirements
  7. Decide on design elements and amenities
  8. Select a proven remodeling company
  9. Establish the final budget and schedule
  10. Prepare for inconvenience during the construction phase
Source: Republic West Remodeling

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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