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

My Blog

5 Trendy Bathroom Upgrades

June 30, 2014 2:02 am

(BPT) – Home website Houzz recently polled homeowners, asking what bathroom improvements they desired most. Many of the answers were both luxurious and affordable, and others were downright simple changes to make. Here are five hot bathroom upgrades and some ideas for incorporating them into your home:

1. Skylights
In rooms where privacy is a concern, skylights can provide both natural light and ventilation. They're beautiful, endowing bathrooms with a major "wow" factor, and practical; Energy Star-qualified no-leak, solar-powered fresh-air skylights can help trim electricity costs by providing natural light and passively venting moist, warm air from the room.

2. Lighted vanity mirror
Home improvement stores, design studios and online retailers carry a variety of lighted vanities in shapes, sizes, styles and light sources (LED, CFL or incandescent) to suit virtually every taste. Installing one is a simple do-it-yourself job that has a big impact on a bathroom's appearance and usability.

3. Double-flush toilet
Dual-flush toilets use only the water you need to get the job done, so they contribute positively to a home's overall footprint and can help save on water bills. They’re a lower-cost upgrade, and even more cost-effective when installed by a savvy DIYer.

4. Towel warmers
Wall-mounted or free-standing, plug-in or hard-wired, all towel warmers work the same way; heated bars warm towels hung on the rack, providing a cozy, warm towel every time you bathe. Plug-in versions install easily, while hard-wired ones may require professional installation.

5. Shower foot rest

Foot rests are an economical improvement – some suction-cup styles cost under $20. For a more refined look or enhanced sturdiness, it's possible to find one that anchors into the wall through screws, or a style built into shower surrounds. If you're redoing your shower stall, it's the perfect time to add a stylish, sturdy foot rest.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Five Fresh Interior Design Trends Using Wood

June 27, 2014 1:26 am

(BPT) - Wood may be known for its timeless visual appeal, but there's nothing static about the way people showcase it in American homes. Designers, homeowners and DIYers are re-discovering the warmth and beauty of wood. From inventive new uses to re-interpretations of existing styles, here are five fresh ways homeowners can incorporate wood in their homes.

Statement walls
Paneling, wainscoting and appearance walls are big trend setters. Different types of interior wood finishes reflect different styles. For example, leaving wood paneling unfinished can create the ambiance of a coastal beach house or a rustic cabin. Designers also like to mix different woods and finishes on appearance walls to add visual depth to a room.

Playing with scale
Designers are also playing with the scale of wainscoting, using it to enhance smaller rooms. A wainscot treatment brings the eye up and makes a room feel a bit taller, adding dimension and scale to smaller spaces.

Crown molding bridges the junction of walls and ceilings - a prominent visual location where an architectural accent can really shine. A contemporary use of molding is to apply a larger size of molding relative to the scale of the room. A larger baseboard, for example, grounds a room with higher ceilings, creating definition while maintaining flow in open floor plans.

Natural color and texture
The natural color of different woods reflects a certain tone, depending on which type the homeowner opts for. Darker woods, for example, lend a modern or glamorous touch, and lighter woods create a softer, more airy look.

In addition to color, each species' unique grain patterns complement and enhance a variety of interior styles. For example, the light and consistently lineal pattern of fir works well with a contemporary interior with its clean lines and greater symmetry. Wood with a more pronounced grain pattern, like pine, lends a more traditional and rustic feel.

Finished ceilings
Often homeowners forget about the ceiling, leaving it exactly as it was when the house was built. However, wood on the ceiling can add architectural interest to the room, and attract the eye upward to explore the space.

Use wood trim, plank, decking or even siding on the ceiling to raise the decorative elements in the room to a new level. Visitors will be sure to stop and pause when they first notice the attractive style of the "fifth wall."

Reclaimed wood
Upcycling wood found in barns and older buildings gives homeowners the chance to bring new life to beautifully aged wood. Reuse barn doors for headboards on beds, or create a table out of old wood planks. Sliding doors are also popular in homes that don't have the space for a hinged door.

Weathered wood has a unique quality that can really add character to a space. Leave the wood weathered or grayed, or you can refinish the wood for a polished look.

For more project inspiration, visit the Wood, Naturally website.

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Summertime Homeowner's Insurance Considerations

June 27, 2014 1:26 am

The summer season means poolside weekends, outdoor recreation and long-awaited travel plans. While you’re out having fun in the sun, be sure your homeowner’s insurance applies to seasonal hazards, which can put you in the red if you don’t have adequate coverage. Keep these areas in mind:

• Pool Insurance – Pool accidents are much more common than you think – and if they happen in your backyard, you’ll be liable. Protect yourself from paying sky-high medical expenses or going through legal proceedings by ensuring you have the right amount of coverage. For a maximum safeguard, adopt an umbrella policy.

• Home Rental – If you’re planning to rent out your home for vacation use, be certain you meet all insurance requirements: some allow short-term rentals under your regular policy, but others may call for more coverage. Additionally, long-term rentals can cost up to 25 percent more. Regular rentals (not for vacation use) will not be covered.

• Vacation Rentals – If you’re the renter, speak with your agent about whether your homeowner’s insurance covers damage where you’re renting. If you’re booking through an online portal, check to see if there’s a policy in place for unforeseen events.

Source: Bankrate

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5 Financial Risks to Consider in Retirement

June 27, 2014 1:26 am

Most people don’t know that 80 percent of mountain-climbing accidents don’t occur on the way to the summit – they happen on the way down, says financial expert and extreme sports enthusiast David Rosell.

Although arriving at the top of the mountain is considered by many mountaineers to be one of life’s greatest accomplishments, I can tell you firsthand that summiting is not the ultimate goal for climbers,” says Rosell, CEO of Rosell Wealth Management and author of “Failure is NOT an Option,” (www.DavidRosell.com).

“They know that most climbing accidents and deaths occur on the descent. With this in mind, they will tell you that their objective is to reach the summit and get back down alive to see their family and friends. They understand that the second half of their journey presents the greatest risk and requires the most planning.”

“Likewise, we need to think of retirement as the descent from the financial mountain, which can be treacherous.”

Retirees and pre-retirees need to evolve from the traditional view of retirement, especially with so much legitimate concern about an unprecedented retirement crisis on our immediate horizon, he says. According to a 2013 report by the National Institute on Retirement Security, 45 percent of working-age American households have no retirement savings.

That’s on top of the 3.5 million baby boomers who have been retiring each year, and will continue to do so for more than a decade.

To help his clients thrive while experiencing descending their own financial mountains, Rosell briefly touches upon five major financial risks many experience during retirement.

• Inflation: During the second half of your financial journey, it’s critical that you’re able to maintain your purchasing power. Inflation simply means that every year your money buys a little – or a lot – less than it did the year before. Currently, inflation is 3.5 percent, which doesn’t sound like much. However, even if the rate holds steady and doesn’t increase, prices will have doubled in 20 years.

• Longevity: According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, the over-80 population is increasing five times faster than the overall population. By 2030, the demographics of 32 states will resemble those of Florida today. With more golden years to play, you’ll want the funding to make them fun! “Today,” Rosell says, “going gray means time to play.”

• Health/long-term care: Sadly, the escalating costs associated with long-term care during retirement can make the possibility of outliving one’s retirement income a reality for many. Statistics reveal that as we age, there’s an increased probability of our eventually needing assistance with basic daily activities. The truth is that most of us will need long-term care in our later years.

• Market risk: Economic recessions have occurred throughout the history of modern economics and always will, averaging one almost every nine years. If the market loses 50 percent one year and then increases 50 percent the following year, where are you? Many people get this wrong; after the fall and subsequent rise of 50 percent, you will have lost 25 percent. "This happened twice in the last decade," Rosell says.

• The sequence of returns: Gains or losses, or the order in which you receive your returns, can have a major impact on your retirement portfolio. It can mean the difference between having enough income in retirement and running out of money too soon. Be careful when an analysis states that you should achieve your goals by obtaining a specific rate of return. In most cases, this statement has not accounted for the sequence of returns.

“These are by no means the only tricky slopes that may have an affect on your retirement,” Rosell says. “Just as you have worked a lifetime to have money for your golden years, now is the time to manage your wealth wisely."

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4 Ways to Express True Personality Through Design

June 26, 2014 1:14 am

How do people typically define you? As calm and collected, energetic, or mysterious? Now, take a step back and think of how people describe your home -- are the characteristics in sync? For a house to truly become a home, it must have a soul that mirrors the authenticity and individuality of the homeowner.

Decor&You provides some tips and ideas to help create a home that truly reflects your personality.

• Choose Your Hues: One of the simplest and most inexpensive ways to see yourself within the walls of your home is by choosing colors and hues that correspond with your personality. For instance, a very calm and tranquil person may consider using watery colors, such as pale blues and greens. Meanwhile, an energetic person may want to play with bright tones, such as pinks and turquoise with white accents. Conversely, a dramatic, yet sophisticated person can opt for rich and deep shades such as an eggplant purple or maroon. After you decide on the color schemes, it's key to take a moment and envision yourself living within the realms of those colors.

• Celebrate Your Prized Possessions: From family heirlooms to trophies, everyone has belongings with priceless personal value. To help reflect your history and achievements, utilize these items as focal points in the home. One way to do that is by devoting an entire wall to built-in cubbies which will help put items on display. These pieces can set the foundation for a room's color schemes, furniture, and overall style, while simultaneously celebrating you.

• Echo Your Lifestyle: Does your home typically serve as the safe haven for you to unwind and relax in after a long day; or, does it transform into a venue for hosting parties and gatherings for family and friends? To create a cozy atmosphere, focus on simplicity by pursuing neutral colors and textures. Comfortable seating, ottomans, dim lighting, and matching blankets help to ensure a relaxed attitude. For an extravagant and inviting room, don't be afraid to go bold with intricate details. Especially in dining or sitting rooms, statement pieces, such as an elegant chandelier, aid in keeping the room lively and stimulating. Slipcovers with varying patterns for sofas and chairs are also a great way to constantly keep guests 'wow-ed' and allow you to alter a room to fit all occasions.

• Signature Scents: Prior to investing in air fresheners or candles, try identifying the activities and environments that make you happiest. Scents have the potential to serve as a powerful memory trigger, so choose smells corresponding with enjoyable times. Perhaps you love to cook or bake -- try out a vanilla, cookie, pumpkin spice, or cinnamon air freshener, candle, or oil diffuser. For someone who loves the outdoors -- pick a grass, breeze, or beach scent that helps bring the outdoors inside. With so many different options available, the perfect scent could be the final step in embodying yourself within your home.

Source: Decor&You

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Laying a Good Foundation for Home Improvement Success

June 26, 2014 1:14 am

(BPT) - You've probably heard the saying: "Your home is your castle." But if your current home - or the home you're thinking of buying - feels more like the servant's quarters than the royal palace, you may need to plan a renovation. At times like these it's easy to give in to your excitement and get the project moving forward, but take a moment to plan your overall strategy. You'll find that, much like your future castle, your renovation project will benefit from a solid foundation.

You can build your foundation by accomplishing these important tasks:

Talk to a renovation specialist. Acquiring a renovation loan allows you to finance your new home mortgage and your renovation plans into a single loan. And an important aspect of the renovation loan to remember is that the loan is based on the value of the home after it's been improved. If you are renovating your existing home, you can use the loan to refinance your existing mortgage and make the renovation updates. Speaking with a renovation lender can help you build your financial foundation for your renovation project.

Shop around for the right contractor. If you plan to use a contractor for your project, it's important to select the right one. But how do you decide on a contractor? Research is important. Many contractors will provide you with a couple of references but this isn't always a fool-proof solution. These references could be relatives or friends of the contractor.

References can be helpful but don't rely on it exclusively. Dig deeper by traveling to the site of the contractor's current job. Are the clients happy? Has the contractor's work met expectations and budget? Has the contractor finished benchmarks on time? These are all important questions to ask. You can also inquire about the contractor's work on social media and professional referral websites.

Finalize your vision. Selecting the proper renovation specialist and contractor are key to your project, but both of these professionals will be able to provide you better service if you have a vision for what the project entails. You may not know exactly how much the project will cost, but you should have a budget in mind. If your contractor asks questions about layout or wall preferences, be ready to make the decisions and guide him or her toward your goals. Approaching the project with a plan will eliminate miscommunication and regrets later.

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Seven Things It Pays to Spend More For

June 26, 2014 1:14 am

These days, when every penny counts, it’s tempting to try to save a few bucks when you shop for the things you need. But, said financial services expert Kristen Frost, author of The Frugal Girl, there are some times when being cheap costs you more in the end.

“Paying more for an item that will last longer makes better financial sense,” she said.

Cross suggests you buy the best you can afford when shopping for these items:

Kitchen tools – Cheaply made kitchen tools tend to warp, dull, and stop performing well far sooner than quality tools.

Furniture
– Unlike the cheap stuff, which is frequently made of particle board, good furniture will last a lifetime and can always be refinished. If you can’t afford new, look for good used furniture at garage sales or on Craig’s List.

Paint – Cheap paint may seem like a bargain, but it isn’t if it takes two or three coats to cover well.

Classic clothing pieces – Cheap is fine for trendy pieces, but buy quality pieces to stay in style and get years of use from your blazer, tuxedo, basic black dress or jacket.

Shoes – Because we spend so much time on our feet, we really should make ourselves comfy. Besides, more expensive shoes tend to last longer and provide better support for the arch and heel to keep your feet healthy.

Bed sheets – We spend a lot of time in bed, too, and good quality sheets provide a better feel and more comfort in every season. Basically, a higher thread count means a better sheet, but a thread count in the middle range is often all you need.

Toys – Simple but sturdy toys, like wooden blocks and Legos, cost more than their cheap counterparts. But children tend to be hard on their playthings, so buy quality toys that will provide imaginative play for many years.

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New Study Shows Homeowners Prefer a Home Protected With Fire Sprinklers

June 25, 2014 1:02 am

In a new national Harris Poll survey conducted on behalf of the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC), 74 percent of U.S. homeowners said they would be more likely to buy a home with fire sprinklers than one without. Seven in 10 said a sprinklered house has more value and nearly 8 in 10 (78 percent) said fire sprinklers provide the ultimate protection for residents.

New home construction across the country incorporates this feature, but homeowners of lived-in properties are also interested in a sprinklered home. Nearly 70 percent had their interest boosted when they learned smoke cannot set off a fire sprinkler. Additionally, nearly half say they have more confidence in homebuilders who offer sprinklers than those who do not.

The common myth that all fire sprinklers spray water at once when a fire breaks out remains a roadblock to homeowner interest. While new- construction owners often receive information about home safety features from their builder, collaboration with local officials and fire services is needed to educate all homeowners.

Source: HFSC

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Top 5 World's Best Places to Visit

June 25, 2014 1:02 am

Just in time for summer vacation, U.S. News & World Report recenty released its annual rankings of the World's Best Places to Visit. The new list features 25 of the most recommended vacation destinations by travel experts and consumers. Here are the World’s Top 5, plus Top 3 by region:

2014-15 Top 5 World's Best Places to Visit:

1. Paris
2. London
3. Barcelona
4. Maui
5. New York City

To view the remaining top 20, click here.

2014-15 Top 3 Best Places to Visit in the USA:

1. Maui
2. Yellowstone
3. Washington, D.C.

2014-15 Top 3 Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean:

1. U.S. Virgin Islands
2. Cayman Islands
3. St. Kitts & Nevis

2014-15 Top 3 Best Places to Visit in Europe:

1. Rome
2. Paris
3. Barcelona

Source: U.S. News and World Report

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From Bears to Bugs: 10 Camping Safety Tips

June 25, 2014 1:02 am

Summer is here and camping is a great way for families, friends and the adventurous to get outdoors and enjoy the summer heat. From hiking, to swimming, to sitting around the campfire, camping should be enjoyed to the fullest.

These 10 summer camping tips will ensure you get the most out of your trip and stay safe this summer.

1. Water Safety
Many water-related accidents are preventable. Always wear a properly sized and fitted life jacket when boating; know your abilities as a swimmer and don't venture beyond your comfort level; use the buddy system; be aware of currents and learn what to do if caught in one; and always supervise children, even in very shallow water.

2. Protect Yourself from the Sun
With summer comes hot, hot heat! Sunburns can be incredibly painful and very serious. Don't forget to wear hats, sunglasses and apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply often; make sure to use waterproof sunscreen if you plan to go in the water, but remember, it only lasts about 90 minutes when in water.

3. Keep Cool and Stay Hydrated

With summer heat, it's also extremely important to keep cool and hydrated to avoid heat exhaustion or stroke. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and pack extra water bottles in a cooler with lots of ice to keep them cold. Find a shady place to rest if you are getting too hot. Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion; excessive thirst, nausea, fainting, cool and clammy skin, weakness, muscle aches, heavy sweating, slow heartbeat and dizziness.

4. Avoiding Bears and Other Wildlife
Food attracts a variety of critters, so raccoons, skunks and even bears could make an appearance during your trip. Never store scented products or food in your tent; instead, lock it in your car, put it in a separate tent or string it up in a tree if you are camping in the bush. Don't leave garbage out in the open, store food in airtight containers and clean up immediately after eating - otherwise you may have some unwelcome visitors.

5. Transporting Food
Keeping perishable foods at the appropriate temperature is vital to avoiding illness. Eat fresh foods first and pack them in a cooler using plenty of ice to keep food from spoiling.

6. Build Campfires Responsibly
Check the official campground website beforehand to determine fire regulations. Use a fire pit if one is available, never leave the fire unattended and remember to fully extinguish it when you are done. If a fire pit is not available, create one well away from tent walls, plants, trees and other flammable objects.

7. Getting Lost - and Found!
Always tell someone where you are going. Have a set plan with a pre-determined meeting place if you get separated. Packing a whistle, cell phone and compass or GPS are always a good idea. Know what to do when you get lost and you'll always be found. Adventuresmart.ca is a great resource for information on how to stay safe outdoors.

8. Protect Against Insects
Prime mosquito-biting hours are usually from dusk to dawn, but ticks are out at all times, so become familiar with insect and tick repellent and apply regularly.

9. Prepare for the Weather
Check the weather forecast before you pack. Weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to pack for a range of temperatures and rain.

10. Bring the Right Gear
Plan in advance and bring only certified essentials — you don't want to be lugging around unnecessary equipment or faulty gear. Don't forget to pack: a pocketknife, first aid kit, extra clothing, water bottle, flashlight, extra trail food and matches and fire starters.

Whether you're a first-time camper or experienced explorer, remember to leave no trace that you were ever there so that the natural world will be there to appreciate for many years to come.

Stay safe, alert and aware - happy camping!

Source: Scouts Canada

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