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

Easy-to-Install Window Trim Options

November 13, 2013 3:57 am

On the “what’s in and what’s out” list for homeowners, naked window exteriors are definitely out. Easy-to-install decorative accents like mouldings, window crossheads and shutters are now trending for homeowners across the country.

“With so many options for enhancing window exteriors using lightweight polyurethane products, even the most novice do-it-yourselfer can change a window exterior from boring to beautiful in a short time,” says Niki Decker with Fypon. “If you can use a tape measure, a hammer and a caulk gun, you can transform your window exteriors!”

Options for homeowners to use include:

Crossheads – Decorative crossheads sit on the top of a window and add a regal look. They can be plain or detailed with keystones in the center to draw attention or detail trim along the length of the crosshead to suit traditional home styles. There are also crosshead arches and eyebrow crossheads that provide a softer, curved look when installed above a window.

Pediments – Stylish and eye-catching, pediments also sit above windows. From curved and peaked sunbursts to triangular peaked caps, acorn and rams head styles, pediments are the most dramatic way to draw attention to your window exteriors.

Pilasters – Not all window enhancements sit on top of the window unit. Usually intended to flank the sides of entry doors, pilasters can also be cut down to run vertically up the sides of windows. Pilasters can be smooth and plain, or have a “fluted” recessed design. They generally have plinths at the top and bottom to balance out the window design and add style to the window surround.

Mouldings - Perhaps the easiest way to surround a window is with flat or decorative trim and plinth blocks. This quick project requires no miter cuts because the plinth blocks are put in all four corners of the window exterior and butt up to straight cuts of smooth, paintable trim pieces. Many homeowners use this technique as a “starting point” and then add in other elements such as pediments and shutters to create their own personal window statement.

Shutters – Another popular way to draw attention to the sides of windows is to add a set of decorative shutters. Available in louvered and raised panel styles that are smooth and paintable, shutters provide the perfect way to carry an accent color throughout the exterior of your home. Or, timber shutters in board, plank and louvered styles can be stained to imitate the look of wood on a home without all the maintenance hassles of real wood.

Window Panels – To add depth to the look of a window, flat and raised panels can be added below the window unit and then enclosed entirely with trim. Window panels tend to fill in space between the bottom of the window and the ground, helping the windows gain more presence and focus on a home exterior.

Pot Shelves – Available in both timber and stone styles, a pot shelf is placed below the bottom window sill. Oftentimes they’re used to balance out an entire window surround with a finished look.

Source: Fypon, LLC

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Mortgage Delinquency Rate Drops Nearly 25 Percent in Last Year

November 13, 2013 3:57 am

The mortgage delinquency rate (the rate of borrowers 60 days or more delinquent on their mortgage) dropped 23.3 percent in the past year, ending Q3 2013 at 4.09 percent. It stood at 5.33 percent in Q3 2012. The mortgage delinquency rate also dropped on a quarterly basis, down 5.3 percent from 4.32 percent in Q2 2013, the seventh straight quarterly decline.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia experienced a decline in their mortgage delinquency rate between Q3 2012 and Q3 2013. Five states - California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Utah - experienced 30 percent+ declines in their mortgage delinquency rate. Three states - California, Florida and Nevada - had double-digit percentage drops in the last quarter.

"This isn't a sample data set," said Tim Martin, group vice president of U.S Housing for TransUnion's financial services business unit. "We looked at all 52 million installment-based mortgages in the U.S. and the trend is clear - the percentage of borrowers willing and able to make their mortgage payments continues to improve. The overall delinquency rate is still high relative to 'normal,' but a 23 percent year over year improvement is great news for homeowners and their lenders."

TransUnion recorded 52.31 million mortgage accounts as of Q3 2013, down from 54.23 million in Q3 2012. This variable was as high as 63.14 million in Q3 2008 prior to the housing crisis.

Viewed one quarter in arrears (to ensure all accounts are included in the data), new account originations increased to 2.34 million in Q2 2013, up from 2.09 million in Q2 2012. This is a major increase from just two years ago when there were 1.32 million new account originations in Q2 2010.

"New mortgage originations showed good growth through the second quarter of this year, largely the result of increased refinance transactions driven by low rates and increasing home prices," said Martin. "However, mortgage rates started to increase right around Memorial Day, and when the data come out next quarter, we expect it to show that new originations are decreasing as a result."

TransUnion's latest mortgage report also found that the non-prime population (those consumers with a VantageScore® credit score lower than 700) continues to represent a smaller portion of all mortgage loans, more than 50 percent lower than was observed in 2007. Non-prime borrowers constituted 5.82 percent of all new mortgage originations in Q2 2013. In Q2 2008, non-prime borrowers represented 12.69 percent of the total.

TransUnion is forecasting that the downward consumer delinquency trend will continue in the final three months of 2013. The delinquency rate will likely be just under 4 percent at the end of the year.

TransUnion's forecast is based on various economic assumptions, such as gross state product, consumer sentiment, unemployment rates, real personal income, and real estate values. The forecast would change if there are unanticipated shocks to the economy affecting recovery in the housing market or if home prices begin to depreciate once again.

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Two-in-Five Borrowers Shorten Term When Refinancing

November 13, 2013 3:57 am

Freddie Mac released the results of its third quarter 2013 quarterly refinance analysis, showing that borrowers are continuing to take advantage of near record low mortgage rates to lower their monthly payments, shorten their loan terms and overwhelmingly choosing the safety of long-term, fixed-rate mortgages. Borrowers who refinanced in the third quarter of 2013 will save, on net, approximately $6 billion in interest over the next 12 months.

-Of borrowers who refinanced during the third quarter of 2013, 37 percent shortened their loan term, up 5 percent from the previous quarter and the highest since 1992. Further, 40 percent of those who refinanced outside of HARP took out a shorter-term loan, while 32 percent of HARP borrowers shortened their term. Borrowers who kept the same term as the loan that they had paid off represented 59 percent and only 4 percent chose to lengthen their loan term.

-The net dollars of home equity converted to cash as part of a refinance remained low compared to historical volumes. In the third quarter, an estimated $6.4 billion in net home equity was cashed out during a refinance of conventional prime-credit home mortgages. The peak in cash-out refinance volume was $84 billion during the second quarter of 2006. Adjusted for inflation, annual cash-out volumes during 2010 through 2013 have been the smallest since 1997.

-The average interest rate reduction was about 1.8 percentage points - a savings of about 30 percent. On a $200,000 loan, that translates into saving about $3,500 in interest during the next 12 months. For all borrowers that refinanced during the third quarter, the estimated interest savings over the next 12 months will be about $6 billion. Homeowners who refinanced through HARP during the third quarter of 2013 benefited from an average rate reduction of 1.9 percentage points and will save an average of $3,850 in interest during the first 12 months, or about $320 every month.

-About 85 percent of those who refinanced their first-lien home mortgage maintained about the same loan amount or lowered their principal balance by paying in additional money at the closing table. That's just shy of the 88 percent peak during the second quarter of 2012.

-More than 95 percent of refinancing borrowers chose a fixed-rate loan. Fixed-rate loans were preferred regardless of what the original loan product had been. For example, 86 percent of borrowers who had a hybrid ARM refinanced into a fixed-rate loan during the second quarter. In contrast, only 3 percent of borrowers who had a fixed-rate loan chose an ARM.

-With mortgage rates remaining below 5 percent for most of the past four years, relatively few homeowners with loans taken in this period would have much incentive to refinance. Consequently, the median age the original loan was outstanding before refinance increased to 6.7 years during the third quarter, the most since the analysis began in 1985.

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Consumers Plan Early Start to the Holiday Shopping Season

November 12, 2013 3:57 am

The 2013 holiday shopping season is underway, with survey results showing some unexpected trends. As in most years, the top shopping day of the year is expected to be Black Friday. However, Cyber Monday will follow close behind across most demographic groups, overtaking Super Saturday as the second busiest holiday shopping day of the year.

Procrastinating is out this year with most consumers (62 percent) planning to finish their gift buying on or before December 16. Stores are likely to accommodate this trend and consumers should plan to make popular gift purchases early this holiday shopping season.

The hottest gift category this year is expected to be toys and games followed closely by consumer electronics. Gifts receiving the most specific mentions include smart phones, tablets, game consoles, digital cameras and televisions.

Other key findings include:

-Thirty-seven percent of women list "seasonal discounts" as their top motivating factor while only 20 percent cite "gift practicality." Men were more evenly divided between "seasonal discounts" (30 percent) and "gift practicality" (27 percent) as the driving factor influencing their holiday shopping.

-Men are more likely to shop for consumer electronics this year while women intend to buy games and toys.

-Respondents aged 18-34 are significantly more likely to shop for consumer electronics this holiday season than any other age group surveyed.

-Approximately one-third of respondents from households with a combined annual income of $100,000 or more are expected to shop on Cyber Monday vs. Black Friday. The opposite is true for respondents from households with a combined annual income of less than $35,000.

-Respondents from lower income households are more driven to find the perfect gift for their loved ones this year, with 40 percent of respondents in the $35,000-and-under income category saying that "finding the perfect gift" is the factor most likely to influence their holiday shopping.

With the rapid growth of online shopping, consumers planning to buy their gifts over the Internet this holiday season should be aware of their state's tax remittance policies, save all receipts from online purchases and be sure to calculate and remit the taxes at the appropriate time. This unnecessary burden on consumers would be lifted if and when Congress passes Marketplace Fairness legislation. Modernizing the sales tax system so that it aligns with the 21st Century marketplace will benefit consumers and create a level playing field for all retailers.

Source: ICSC

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Flu Prevention Tips

November 12, 2013 3:57 am

Germ removal experts at Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System® have developed helpful tips to keep office environments healthy and help eliminate germ "hot spots" during cold and flu season.

In addition to getting a flu vaccine, it is important to keep work environments clean. Reception desks, counters, door handles, telephones and computer keyboards are some of the most common surfaces that are touched hundreds of times throughout the day. Germs quickly spread from surfaces to the immune system, making it important to clean areas with EPA-registered disinfectants frequently.

Here are some strategies to remain flu-free this season:

-Know the germ "hot spots" in the office. For example, the average phone has 400 times more germs than a toilet seat. Flu viruses can live on surfaces up to four days. It's important to properly disinfect your work area frequently.

-Eating at your desk? Your work surface is a "bacteria cafeteria" according to Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona.

-Know the grimiest things you touch at the office on daily basis: kitchen sink and faucet handles; microwave and fridge door handles; vending machine, elevator and ATM buttons; drinking fountains; keyboards and touchscreens.

The most common way the flu spreads is by hand-to-face transmission. The average person touches their face 18.5 times and 30 objects within an hour. Washing hands frequently with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds helps stop the transmission of germs.

"For years, professionals in the commercial cleaning industry relied on their senses to determine whether something was clean or dirty," said Sean Kajcienski, chief sales officer at Coverall. "The old way of cleaning with string mops, upright vacuums and cotton rags doesn't work. In fact, those old techniques can actually make the problem worse by spreading germs throughout your facility."

Kajcienski advises workers be aware of harmful germs lurking in unexpected areas and traveling throughout the office. Last flu season began in November and was the worst since 2009. December, January and February log the most flu cases, so the time to "step up" your germ-killing cleaning program is now.

Advanced technology, such as the ATP meter, is often used in restaurants, schools and hospitals to accurately verify germ reduction after cleaning.

Germs can best be killed and removed from surfaces using:

-Hospital-grade disinfectants (proven to kill germs)
-Color-Coded microfiber towels (towel used on toilet not used in kitchen)
-Flat mops with self-dispensing buckets (never uses dirty water)
-HEPA Backpack Vacuums (removes 99.97 percent of particles)

Source: Coverall

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DIY Decorating that Lasts All Season Long

November 12, 2013 3:57 am

(BPT) - As the holidays roll around, it's natural to want to spread good tidings and cheer with festive decorations like wreaths, candy canes and Santa Claus figurines. But this year, instead of digging out the same old holiday decorations, why not create some new looks that will last the entire winter season, even after you put away the gift wrap and ornaments?

Stimulate the senses

Nothing says winter like the fresh smell of pine and the soft, warm glow of candle light. Place pine tree-scented white taper candles around your living spaces, light and enjoy for a fresh look and smell that will stimulate your senses well into 2014.

Color works wonders

Another easy way to excite the senses during a drab, gray winter is with pops of color. For a decorative display that lasts all season, avoid the red and green color combination associated with Christmas and branch out with more contemporary choices like teals, blues, purples and pinks. Metallics like silver and gold are also a great way to glitz up the season without looking like the North Pole in overdrive. Group spray-painted ornaments or pine cones in a hurricane vase or glass bowl and display on the mantel for added ambiance to any living room.

Deck the halls

Looking for a way to display the abundance of holiday cards from friends and family? Repurpose an old window shutter to create a unique display. Start by spray painting it with a festive shade, such as green or burgundy, which adds a touch of holiday spirit. Once dry, hang the shutter in the kitchen or entryway and place holiday cards in the slats of the shutter for a creative way to stay organized. Once the holidays have passed, you can still use the shutter to display birthday cards, thank you notes, party invitations and more all year long.

Outdoor decor
The inside of the home isn't the only space you can be creative. Make a lasting statement before house guests even step inside your home by focusing decorative attention to the outside. Line walkways and driveways with lights or faux miniature pine trees, and place white flameless candlesticks on each windowsill to add a simple touch of holiday spirit without going overboard. Prop a vintage snow sled outside the front door to welcome guests.

Source: www.krylon.com

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Juggling That Work-Life Balance

November 6, 2013 3:42 am

Larry Katzen forged an ambitious career as a leader at one of the world’s most prestigious accounting firms. But he has been equally ambitious with his family life; he’s the father of quadruplets—three sons and a daughter. And he felt it was important to serve his community, sitting on more than 10 boards of directors.

“It was an incredible challenge and I don’t regret one minute of it!” says Katzen, author of “And You Thought Accountants Were Boring - My Life Inside Arthur Andersen,” a look at working in one of the world’s most historically important accounting firms.

“The quadruplets were born April 22, 1974, before multiple births became fairly common, so we were front-page news and featured on all the national TV news shows,” Katzen says. “But that also tells you there weren’t many other parents who could give us advice, and certainly no Internet forums to turn to!”

“It comes down to sticking to some basic principles: doing the right thing, for one, and listening to your heart,” Katzen says.

He draws on his 35-year career and family life to offer these tips for working parents with multiple children:

• Cultivate support systems! One of the wonderful things about Arthur Andersen was the people who worked there, including his bosses, Katzen says. “They knew the physical and financial struggles Susan and I faced caring for four babies and, because I never gave less than my all at work, they did what they could to work around my situation,” he says. That included a heftier-than-usual annual pay raise that Katzen learned only years later was approved because the firm’s partners knew he would need the extra money.

Susan reached out to moms of multiples to develop her own support system, and the couple hired a recent high school graduate to help care for their rambunctious brood a couple days a week.

“There’s no glory in not asking for support and help,” Katzen says.

• Combine business and family. Katzen traveled frequently for his job and, when his children were 9 years old, a business friend suggested he bring them along, one at a time, on his trips.

“The first was my daughter, Laurie. We flew to New York on a Friday and spent the weekend shopping, dining, taking in a show. For the first time ever, we were alone together without any disruptions,” Katzen says. “Neither of us ever forgot that weekend.”

• Consider buying a small vacation home.
Traveling with four young children was extremely difficult, especially nights in motels, where the family would split up into two rooms – one parent and two children in each.

“When we discovered Sun Valley, Idaho, the children were 6. On our first trip there, they quickly learned to ski, and they clearly loved the snow – we could hardly get them to come inside,” Katzen says.

The family so enjoyed the vacation, they looked into the prices of condos.

“We found a furnished condo at a very affordable price and for the next 13 years, we enjoyed summers and winters in Sun Valley,” Katzen says. “It may sound like a big investment, but when you consider the costs of motels and dining out for a family of six, it works out well – and it’s a lot more comfortable.”

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Take Preventive Measures to Keep Your Garage and Family Safe

November 6, 2013 3:42 am

Garages continue to serve as a major hub of activity in the modern household, often becoming the primary entry point into the home and a storage center for everything from soccer balls to snow blowers. But, with one out of every 15 garage door openers lacking the latest safety features, there is a hidden threat in millions of households across America. To avoid injuries from the largest and heaviest moving object in the home, LiftMaster is announcing its national "Don't Chance It. Check It.™" Garage Safety Initiative.

Once considered a luxury item, automatic garage door openers are now installed in 35 million households across the country, with more than 70 percent of homeowners relying on their garage door as the main access point to the home. As more and more garage door openers made their way into American homes over the last several decades, laws were enacted to ensure the safety of those using them. However, prior to 1993, protection systems, such as infrared sensors or "photo-eyes" that stop a garage door before making contact with an object or person – were not mandatory.

Instead, garage door openers were equipped with force-sensing safety systems that only reverse the door after it makes contact with an object. These older models can be safe and reliable if installed, tested and maintained properly. But unless they're retrofitted with photo-eyes, the vast majority of these older units still are not up to today's standard in safety.

The program, currently rolling out to a national audience, is designed to help homeowners and families understand how to check their door and make sure they have the safest garage door opener system in place. Follow these three easy steps to ensure safe functionality of any automatic garage door openers installed after 1993 or retrofitted with safety eyes:

1. Check the sides of the garage door for properly installed photo-eyes (black sensors), mounted no higher than six inches off the floor.

2. Block the photo-eye with an object over six inches tall and press the close button on the garage door opener. The door should not close.

3. Lay an object that is at least 1.5 inches in height flat on the ground in the door's path and press the close button. Household objects this size might be a bar of soap, stack of index cards, or a hardcover book. The door should reverse off this object. If it makes contact and does not reverse, the door is not operating correctly.

After recording the results, homeowners are encouraged to contact a Certified Safety Check Dealer to seek guidance on how to keep this high traffic area safe and secure. For further assistance or to learn how to upgrade a garage door opener, homeowners can visit LiftMaster.com/GarageSafety .

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Simple Tips to Prevent Home Fires

November 6, 2013 3:42 am

Deaths from fires and burns are the third-leading cause of fatal home injuries, and Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Michael Consedine has offered five simple ways to prevent home fires.

"Often victims in house fires die from smoke or toxic gases, rather than burns," Consedine said. "We can all take certain precautions to help prevent these types of tragedies, particularly now as we prepare for colder weather."

Tip 1 – Give heaters their space

In colder months, heating can be a concern. Portable, electric space heaters need three feet of clear space in all directions. Keep heaters away from draperies, furniture, bedspreads, people and pets. Also, homeowners should have their central heating equipment professionally inspected and serviced each heating season. And if you regularly have logs burning in your fireplace, have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually.

Tip 2 – Stand by your pan

Cooking, particularly stove-top cooking, is the leading cause of home fires. Many such fires happen after residents put something on the stove, but become distracted and forget about it. If you have to leave the kitchen while cooking, turn the heat off the burner.

Tip 3 – Don't smoke in bed

House fires can occur as smokers lose track of their still-smoldering butts, which then come in contact with flammable surfaces such as couch cushions. Also cigarettes should be doused with water before they are thrown away to make sure they are completely extinguished.

Tip 4 – Check electrical cords and don't overload your fuse box

Faulty or worn electrical cords are another top cause of home fires. Cords that become frayed or cracked can send sparks to flammable surfaces and start a fire. Check all of your electrical cords to see they are in good shape, and replace those that have deteriorated.

Also, do not overload your circuits. Stick with one plug per receptacle/outlet. Another potential hazard occurs when numerous outlets are wired to a single circuit. You may find that all of the outlets in an entire room are connected to a single circuit. This means that you don't necessarily have to overload a single outlet to cause a fire.

Tip 5 – Check your smoke alarms

All households should have at least one smoke alarm on each floor and preferably one in every bedroom. New smoke alarms should be installed every ten years. Test the alarm and replace the battery yearly.

Source: Pennsylvania Insurance Department

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4 Things You Need to Know About Buying Eyewear

November 5, 2013 3:42 am

There have been a lot of stories counseling Americans not to buy eyeglasses from their local eye doctor. This is not only bad from a personal health perspective, but also from a personal finance perspective.

Here are some facts that everyone needs to know before choosing their specs.

1) Retail (e.g., Pearle Vision, LensCrafters) is not always cheaper! Independent research shows that buying glasses at an independent eye doctor is still less expensive than at many corporate retail chains…by a lot! When you add vision coverage to the mix (which nearly 20 percent of Americans have), that price is even lower.

2) If you have a complex prescription, many online retailers can't make you glasses. The little secret that most online sites don't advertise is the fact that they only sell single vision lenses, not progressives. If they do sell progressives, you are responsible for providing your measurements. So if you have a complex prescription, need glasses to help you see at multiple distances, or are over the age of 40, the chances that you won't be seeing as clearly as you could are pretty high!

3) Beyond price, glasses need to do more than just look good. Glasses are unique in that they are the only fashionable medical device (so far!). Your glasses must be customized to you in every way to maximize their role to help you see clearly. And, while can find some great values online, your eye doctor should, and must, play a critical role in helping you select the best frame and lenses that are right for your individual needs. Just a few things your eye doctor and their staff ensure:

Up-to-date prescription: Your eye doctor will make sure your prescription hasn’t changed and your eyes are healthy through a comprehensive eye exam before picking out your new style. This is especially critical for young children whose eyesight can change regularly. Glasses with the wrong prescription don’t help you see!

Lens options: Lenses may seem like an afterthought, but the right ones can make a big difference. Today’s digital lens technology is more affordable than ever before, especially with vision insurance, and makes a huge difference in helping you to see your best. Your eye doctor and their staff are a great resource to learn about specialized lenses and coatings to fit and enhance your personal lifestyle needs.

Measured to fit your face: Measurements are essential to ensure that your prescription works for you. Because your face is unique so are the way your lenses fit your frames! Your eye doctor and their staff will take your personal measurements to ensure that once your new frames are in hand, they fit your face properly and not only look good on you but help you see.

4) Buying discounted frames online may cost you money in the long run. If you find a deal that is too good to be true online, it probably is. Extremely discounted designer and brand name glasses sold online are usually done so through a “gray market,” which is unofficial, unauthorized or unintended sales by the original manufacturer. This is important to know because, if these glasses malfunction, you may not have an option to get them fixed under warranty. If you purchase through your eye doctor, you have the confidence in their direct relationship with the frame manufacturer.

Source: VSPBlog.com

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