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

Conduct a Safety Assessment in Your New Home

October 3, 2014 4:34 am

Moving into a new home can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Amid unpacking boxes and getting organized, set aside time to walk through your home and evaluate features that impact security. Keep these three areas in mind during your your assessment.

Doors
– All deadbolts should be inspected immediately upon arrival. Ensure that the bolt is made of steel or other durable material, and at least one inch in the length to deter intruders. In addition, check that exterior entryways are protected with solid core doors, rather than the hollow version found in a home’s interior.

Lighting
– More is better than less when it comes to outdoor lighting. Alert you and your family before an incident occurs by installing motion sensor lights along walkways and near the corners of your home.

Plantings – Overgrown shrubs provide the ideal hiding spot for criminals. Prune plantings regularly around access points, such as windows and doors. Alternatively, plant thorny bushes to eliminate the hiding spot altogether.

Source: Safewise

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Four Ways to Save this Halloween

October 3, 2014 4:34 am

(Family Features) As many families with small children know, Halloween is a highly anticipated holiday packed with clever costumes, yummy candies and spirited parties.

But for many parents, the costs associated with this much-loved occasion can be downright frightful. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an average of $72 on Halloween this year, which comes to $7 billion in spending nationwide. With so many ghoulish get-togethers taking place, many parents are looking for ways to stretch their dollars without missing out on any of the fun.

Enjoy more thrills this season with these money-saving tips.

Choose costumes with options. Going to several Halloween parties, but don't want to spend money on extra costumes? Check out costumes that serve a dual purpose, or choose one costume that can be re-used with different accessories.

Save on ghostly gatherings. There are many ways to celebrate without emptying your pocketbook. Invite friends over for a Halloween potluck and encourage each guest to bring a dish to share with a spooky name. Rent or download classic horror films for an after-dinner movie marathon everyone will enjoy.

Shop from home. Save time and avoid the headache of running around town looking for the perfect costume by shopping online. Buy from retailers that allow shoppers to browse and purchase online, and then pick up in-store for no additional fee.

Trick or treat locally. Many parents spend Halloween evening carting children around to various locations across town. Save gas money by only allowing your little goblins to trick or treat within your neighborhood. This will help you get to know your neighbors and get a little exercise in, too.

Source: Kmart

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FICO 9 Changes Could Impact Credit Score

October 3, 2014 4:34 am

With the rollout of FICO’s updated scoring system slated for the near future, it’s important for consumers to continue to practice good credit habits. The Better Business Bureau advises that FICO 9 will result in these three changes, which may impact your credit score.

1. Lack of credit history will be a non-factor. FICO 9’s new algorithm assesses loan risk instead of history, eliminating challenges for young adults or those with little to no credit.

2. Medical debts will hold less weight. Incurring debt from a medical circumstance is often unavoidable. Once FICO 9 goes into effect, experts estimate that those with medical debt and an otherwise good credit history will see a 25-point increase in their score.

3. Collected debt will not be heavily evaluated. Debts paid to a collections agency will have much less of an impact thanks to a forgiveness policy that could result in the addition of 100 points or more to your score.

Source: BBB

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How to Find a Qualified Roofer

October 2, 2014 4:34 am

Many homeowners may opt to bring in a roofing contractor instead of performing a roofing evaluation themselves. So in this report, we'll tap Clement and the experts at DaVinci Roofscapes for some additional advice on finding a good roofing contractor.

First, check to make sure the roofer you are considering is insured and licensed. Then, ask for a written job estimate and references along with warranty information for both the roof you select and the roofer's installation services.

Here are some other recommendations to help find qualified installers in your area:

1. Go to a roof manufacturer’s website to see if they have a preferred installer program. Many manufacturers have special designations for roofing contractors that are skilled at installing their roofs.

2. Ask your local lumberyards, distribution centers and building product dealerships for recommendations on quality roofing installers in your area. You can also ask architects and general contractors if they have a recommendation for a roofer they feel does exceptional work.

3. Visit a website like 1800contractor.com, Home Advisor or Angie’s List. Let them match you up with installers in your specific geographic area to receive installation quotes. And, make sure to check the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce for roofer listings in your area.

4. Ask family, friends and colleagues for recommendations of reputable roofers they’ve used in the past. Select those whose services have been stand-out top quality with your friends.

5. Visit the National Roof Contractors Association (NRCA) website. In the "Consumers" section on the homepage there's a "Find a Contractor" button - plug in your zip code to find an NRCA member roofer in your area.

You'll also find other valuable information on this website regarding your roofing project.

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Save on Thanksgiving Travel with These Tips

October 2, 2014 4:34 am

Holiday travelers looking for the best deals online should book before late October, according to Priceline.com, a leader in online and mobile travel. With flight and seat reductions creating more competition for available seats over the holidays, booking sooner rather than later is key. To narrow down the best deals, follow these tips.

Depart and return on less expensive days. For Thanksgiving travelers, the best days to depart are November 20, 21, 24, 25 and 27. For returning trips, the best days to book are November 27 or 28, or Dec. 2

Pick times of the day that are normally less busy. Keep in mind the time of day that you'll be flying. Travelers will find the most affordable seats departing early in the morning (5 to 7 a.m.) or late evening (after 8 p.m.). Mid-day (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) is a bit more expensive, but still reasonable. Most expensive are the peak business travel hours (8 to 10 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.).

Send those presents on ahead. Gifts for loved ones can mean extra baggage fees, not to mention the security screeners will not be happy to see those wrapped boxes. Save yourself the hassle by mailing or shipping presents in advance (after you've wrapped them, of course).

Weigh and measure your baggage. Check your airline's maximum requirements for checked and carry-on bags to make sure you won't incur extra fees. Note: baggage fees are charged separately for your outbound and return flights.

Source: Priceline.com

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Five DIY Projects to Complete before Winter

October 2, 2014 4:34 am

(BPT) - The leaves are starting to fall off the trees, the birds are flying south and you can feel the temperature dropping. Winter is on its way and while squirrels pack away food before the first snow fall, you'll be relieved to know that you still have time to finish some projects listed below to get your home ready for winter.

Tackle the yard.
Your yard will fall into dormancy during the winter, but a little prep now can help your green space bounce back in the spring. Fertilize your lawn using a lawn spreader from your local rental store to turn this all-day chore into a task that takes just a couple of hours. And don't waste the rest of your day raking the yard; instead, rent a leaf blower to finish this task in a fraction of the time.

Seal the gaps. Find the places where cold air sneaks into your home and you will drastically reduce your heating bills throughout winter. Feel along your windows and doors for any drafts. Seal larger cracks with caulk and cover your windows in plastic wrap for comprehensive protection. If you have a real chimney, don't forget to close the damper to prevent cold air from billowing down the chimney.

Clean the carpets. The winter season can be hard on your carpets as snow, salt and dirt get tracked in from outside. Cleaning them before winter begins puts them in the best possible shape for the colder months ahead. You can hire a professional carpet cleaner or rent one to conquer the task yourself.

Protect pipes from freezing. A ruptured pipe can ruin your home and everything in it. Ruptured pipes occur during winter when the pipes freeze and the frozen water inside expands. You can protect against this by never letting your home's temperature fall below 65 degrees. Wrap pipes running along the exterior walls in heat tape, and be sure to check pipes on those bitterly cold nights.

Empty the gutters. If left unchecked, falling leaves and other debris will clog your gutters and downspouts, which can cause ice dams in the winter. Start by trimming or removing trees and hedges near the gutters. If you lack the tools to complete this project, you can rent a brush cutter, tree trimmer or ladder to do the job. Once obstructions have been removed, clear the gutters to prevent a future home disaster.

These simple steps will help you winterize your home so you can enjoy a happy, hazard-free holiday season.

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National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Safety Resources

October 1, 2014 4:34 am

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a time when Internet users should implement preventative measures to ensure online safety. Whether you want to protect yourself, your family or your business, consult these resources for information on how to stay safe this month and beyond.

Department of Homeland Security
– DHS.gov/stopthinkconnect

Federal Trade Commission – OnGuardOnline.gov

Federal Communications Commission – FCC.gov/cyberforsmallbiz

Better Business Bureau – BBB.org/data-security/

National Fraud Information Center (National Consumers League)
– Fraud.org

National Cyber Security Alliance – StaySafeOnline.org

Microsoft – Microsoft.com/security/saferonline

Source: StaySafeOnline.org

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Five Insurance Options for Renters

October 1, 2014 4:34 am

The number of renters has grown dramatically in some of the most populous U.S. cities, yet few renters actually purchase insurance. Thirty-seven percent of renters have renters insurance, paling in comparison to the 95 percent of homeowners who have a homeowners insurance policy, according to a survey by the Insurance Information Institute.

“Renters insurance provides a very important financial safety net when there is a disaster,” points out Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and chief communications officer for the Institute. “And, renters insurance is relatively inexpensive—the average cost of a renter’s policy is only $187 per year, or less than four dollars per week. Many renters are under the misperception that their landlord’s insurance policy will reimburse them if their personal property is damaged or destroyed, but that’s just not the case,” says Salvatore. “Fortunately, renters have a range of insurance options to choose from.”

The following types of policies are available to renters.

Renters/Tenants Insurance
Renters insurance provides financial protection against damage to or loss of personal possessions due to hurricanes, fire, lightning, theft, explosion and other disasters listed in the policy. There is even coverage for water damage caused by burst pipes or a neighbor who forgets to shut off the water in the tub. Coverage is available on either an actual cash value basis (depreciated value) or for its replacement cost (no deduction for depreciation).

Renters insurance also provides coverage for additional living expenses, in the event you are unable to live in your home due to a fire or other insured disaster. It also includes liability insurance if you, a family member (or even your pet) accidently injure someone and they sue you.

Flood Insurance
Flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and a few private insurance companies. It provides coverage for personal possessions on an actual cash value basis, generally up to about $100,000. Excess Flood Insurance is also available if a renter would like more coverage than is in the NFIP policy or if federal flood insurance is not available in their community.

Earthquake Coverage
Renters can purchase insurance for damage to their personal possessions due to earthquakes from private insurance companies or in California from the California Earthquake Authority. Coverage is available either in the form of an endorsement or as a separate policy. Earthquake insurance provides protection from the shaking and cracking that can destroy buildings and personal possessions. Coverage for other kinds of damage that may result from earthquakes, such as fire and water damage due to burst gas and water pipes, is provided by a standard renters insurance policy.

Umbrella Liability
An umbrella liability policy can be a cost-effective option for increasing your level of liability protection. The policy kicks in when the limit on your renters insurance has been reached. It will also provide coverage for libel and slander. Umbrella policies generally cost about $150 to $300 per year and will also provide additional liability protection if you own a car, boat and even a snowmobile. Because the personal umbrella policy goes into effect after the underlying coverage is exhausted, most insurers will require specific underlying limits on your policies. For instance, you may be required to have $300,000 of liability insurance on your renters insurance policy and at least $250,000 on an auto insurance policy.

Floater or Endorsement for Expensive Items
If you own expensive jewelry, collectibles, musical instruments or even high-end sports equipment, you may want to add a floater or endorsement to your renters policy. This would provide broader coverage for risks such as “mysterious disappearance.” So even if you lose the item, you would be covered.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

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10 Ways to Improve Your Home's Air Quality

October 1, 2014 4:34 am

With cooler weather on the horizon, homeowners everywhere are preparing with maintenance tasks in and out of the home. While working on these projects, remember to address your home’s indoor air quality, especially if you’re going to spend a lot of time inside once winter weather kicks in.

Refresh the air in your home with these 10 tips.

1. Vacuum frequently
– Vacuum carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture twice a week to eliminate airborne allergens.

2. Add houseplants – Plants naturally produce oxygen, a process which removes carbon dioxide and other pollutants in the air.

3. Clean green – Chemicals from cleaners can be released into your home and be detrimental to the health of you and your family. Swap toxic products for organic cleaning supplies or homemade, natural cleaners, such as vinegar, that are just as effective.

4. Cut cigarette smoke – Quitting is the only way to eradicate second-hand smoke pollutants, but if quitting isn’t an option, you can minimize its effects by sending smokers outside and away from windows and doors.

5. Purify your air
– Especially helpful in bedrooms, air purifiers clear the air of toxins lingering around your home. Select one based on the type of purification needed and the size of the room it will be used in.

6. Replace your HVAC filter – Furnaces and air conditioners only work well if they are properly maintained. Change out the filter regularly to keep the air circulating through these devices clean.

7. Conduct radon testing
– Every year, pick up a radon testing kit at any hardware store and test for radon, a colorless, odorless gas that can cause lung cancer.

8. Test your smoke detectors – If you don’t already, be sure you have detectors installed in every bedroom and hallway. Test the batteries frequently and heed detector warnings signaling a low battery.

9. Install carbon monoxide detectors – For maximum protection against carbon monoxide, install detectors near the kitchen and in hallways outside of bedrooms.

10. Create natural air cleansers – Instead of relying on spray fresheners or candles, diffuse pure essential oils to produce a fresh scent.

Source: Homes.com

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Four Medication Safety Tips for Cold and Flu Sufferers

September 30, 2014 4:34 am

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that cold and flu season will pick up this October and peak between January and March next year. Each year, Americans catch approximately 1 billion colds, and seven in 10 consumers will turn to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to treat symptoms.

As the countdown to cold and flu season begins, the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition (AAC) advises consumers to stay safe when recuperating by reading medicine labels carefully to avoid doubling up on medicines with acetaminophen, the most common drug ingredient in America.

Acetaminophen is found in more than 600 different medicines, including prescription and OTC pain relievers, fever reducers, sleep aids and numerous medicines for cough, cold and flu. It is safe and effective when used as directed, but there is a limit to how much can be taken in one day. Taking more than directed is an overdose and can lead to liver damage.

When treating symptoms during the upcoming cold and flu season, follow these safety guidelines:
1. Always read and follow the medicine label.
2. Know if medicines contain acetaminophen, which is in bold type or highlighted in the "active ingredients" section of OTC medicine labels and sometimes listed as "APAP" or "acetam" on prescription labels.
3. Never take two medicines that contain acetaminophen at the same time.
4. Ask your healthcare provider or a pharmacist if you have questions about dosing instructions or medicines that contain acetaminophen.
Source: AAC

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