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

Clean Up with These Helpful Kitchen Tips

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

(Family Features)--So much of life happens in the kitchen – from hurried morning breakfasts to after-school snacks with the kids – it’s likely to be the most travelled room of the home.

Unfortunately, all this activity in one room can cause many messes and much required upkeep. By following a few simple steps, you can keep this important space tidy, clean and smelling great.

Here are some simple tips to keep your kitchen clean and inviting:

Add Some Citrus
Does your garbage disposal have an uninviting stench? Here’s one simple solution – use orange or lemon peels to freshen the drain or disposal. Simply run cool water from your faucet, turn on the disposal, throw in the peels and take in the fresh citrus scent. This is a perfect way to use old fruit that is no longer good enough to eat.

Make Dishes Sparkle
Dirty plates, pots, pans, glasses and utensils pile up quickly in busy kitchens. Get dishes sparkling clean with a dish liquid that leaves your hands feeling soft. In a recent survey conducted by Kelton, 33 percent of those who wash dishes by hand said their skin is usually dry afterwards.

Keep Up With Countertops
The kitchen countertop is the easiest place to collect a mess so it’s important to keep it tidy. Because so many countertops are made with fine woods, stones and other specialty materials, it is important to know what cleaning products you can use on them so they keep their beautiful appearance. In general, avoid abrasive cleaners and never use steel wool or other harsh brushes which can scratch the surface. Invest in protectors such as trivets for hot cookware, or trays for oil bottles and other cooking items that keep permanent residence on countertop space.

Love Your Oven
Ovens are often the most neglected appliance in the kitchen. Open them up to find baked-on spills, burnt-on food, as well as splatters covering the exterior. Be sure you’re giving your oven the maintenance it needs by cleaning it at least once each season. Whether you’re using a homemade cleaning concoction or a heavy-duty store-bought brand, it is important to scour every nook and cranny. Also, give attention to the range top and ensure all extra food debris has been removed and cleaned.

Source: www.palmolive.com

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Tips to Keep Young Children Safe and Sunburn Free All Summer Long

July 11, 2013 12:26 am

With summer fully here, the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) is reminding parents to think about summer safety during these hot, humid and sunny months. To beat the heat, parents can create fun indoor activities for their children to avoid heat exhaustion and limit UV exposure. Parents should pull down their window coverings to both help keep the sun out and to keep kids cool. The WCSC reminds parents and caregivers to only use cordless window coverings in homes with young children. To ensure window coverings are safe for your children, free window covering retrofit kits can be ordered through the WCSC website.

Safety should also be top of mind when play moves outdoors. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has declared July 2013 UV Safety Month, to educate Americans about the dangers of too much sun exposure. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and young children's skin is particularly sensitive to the sun. When enjoying outdoor activities this summer, the Skin Cancer Foundation offers this advice to parents to help keep their children burn free:

• Infants under six months of age should be kept out of the sun. Their skin is too sensitive for sunscreen.
• Babies six to twelve months of age should dress in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs. Sunscreen must be applied 30 minutes before going outside, and reapplied every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
• Toddlers should be in the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., as much as possible. Parents should check the outdoor area where their child plays to make sure there is adequate shade. Also, provide them with sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to protect their face, neck and ears.

Source: Window Covering Safety Council

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Generational Trends Shows Younger Buyers More Optimistic

July 11, 2013 12:26 am

Millennials are more confident than any other age group that their recent home purchase was a good financial investment, according to a new study recently released. The inaugural 2013 National Association of Realtors® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends evaluated the generational differences of recent home buyers and sellers and found that while eight out of 10 recent buyers considered their home purchase a good financial investment, the number was even higher, 85 percent, for younger buyers under the age of 32.

"Homeownership is an investment in your future, and is how many younger American families begin to accumulate wealth," said Paul Bishop, NAR vice president of research. "The oldest of the Millennial generation are now entering the years in which people typically buy a first home, and despite the recent downturn, homeownership still matters to them. The sheer size of the Millennial generation, the largest in history after baby boomers, is expected to give a powerful boost to long-run housing demand, though in the short-term mortgage accessibility and student debt repayment remain challenges."

The study found that the largest group of recent buyers was Generation X Americans, those born between 1965 and 1979, who comprised 31 percent of recent purchases, followed closely by Millennials, sometimes called Generation Y, those born between 1980 and 2000, at 28 percent. Percentages of recent home purchases among prior generations was significantly lower, 18 percent were Younger Boomers, those born between 1955 and 1964; 14 percent were Older Boomers, Americans born between 1946 and 1954; and 10 percent were from the Silent Generation, those born between 1925 and 1945.

The median age of Millennial home buyers was 28, their median income was $66,200 and they typically bought a 1,700-square foot home costing $165,000. The typical Gen X buyer was 39 years old, had a median income of $93,100, and purchased a 2,100-square foot home costing $235,000.

Younger buyers had a tendency to stay closer to their previous residence, often staying within 10 miles, whereas older buyers moved longer distances, typically more than 20 miles from their previous home.

Younger buyers were more likely to buy in an urban or central city area than older buyers; 21 percent of Millennials bought a home in an urban location compared to only 13 percent of Older Boomer and Silent Generation buyers.

The reason for buying a home also varies across the generations; younger buyers most often cited the desire to own a home of their own whereas older buyers wanted to be closer to family and friends. When it comes to factors influencing neighborhood choice, younger generations cited convenience to jobs, affordability of homes, and quality of the school district. Older generations placed higher importance on convenience to family and friends and healthcare facilities.

When it comes to a home's green features, younger buyers placed higher importance on commuting costs than older generations who placed higher importance on a home's energy efficient features and living in an environmentally friendly community.

Millennials tended to make more compromises with their home purchase than any other generation. Millennials most often conceded on the price and size of the home, lot size, distance from job and style of home; whereas nearly half of Older Boomer and Silent Generation buyers made no compromises on their recent home purchase.

Ninety percent of Millennials frequently used the internet to search for homes compared to less than half of Silent Generation buyers. Younger generations of buyers were also more likely to find the home they purchased through the internet; older buyers most often learned about the home they purchased from their real estate agent.

Buyers of all ages gain many benefits from working with a real estate professional. Among the age groups, younger buyers are more likely to want an agent's help understanding the home buying process, presumably because many are buying a home for the first time. Younger buyers were most often referred to their agent by a friend, neighbor or relative whereas older buyers were increasingly likely to work with the same agent they previously used to buy or sell a home.

Source: NAR

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Raw Produce and Fresh-Squeezed Juices: Handle Them Safely!

July 11, 2013 12:26 am

Whether from a supermarket, farm stand, or your very own garden, fresh fruits and vegetables are highlights of summertime. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reminds us that safe handling of produce and fresh-squeezed juice is especially important because these foods are often consumed raw. What's more, foodborne bacteria multiply faster in warm weather – making food safety even more important as temperatures rise.

Follow these tips to prevent food poisoning from produce and fresh-squeezed juices:

Buy right
. Purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged. When selecting pre-cut produce, choose only those that are refrigerated or on ice. Bag fresh fruits and vegetables and keep them separate from raw meat, poultry, and seafood in your grocery cart and shopping bags.
Store properly. Keep perishable fresh fruits and vegetables refrigerated at 40°F or below, including all produce that is purchased pre-cut or peeled.

Wash thoroughly. Wash all produce under running water before eating, cutting or cooking. For pre-packaged produce, look on the package – if it says pre-washed and ready-to-eat, you can use it without further washing. And remember: even if you plan to peel produce, it's important to wash it first so dirt and bacteria aren't transferred from the outside to the inside when you cut into it.

Prepare safely. Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing and/or eating. And if it looks rotten, discard it.

Prevent cross contamination
. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with soap and hot water between preparing raw meat, poultry, and seafood and preparing produce that will not be cooked. Consider using separate cutting boards – one for meat, poultry, and seafood and a separate one for fruits and vegetables. If you use plastic or other non-porous cutting boards, run them through the dishwasher after each use. And always wash hands before and after preparing food!

Check your juice. Children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems risk serious illnesses or even death from drinking juices that have not been pasteurized or otherwise treated to control harmful bacteria. Look for pasteurized or otherwise treated products in your grocers' refrigerated sections, frozen food cases, or in non-refrigerated containers, such as juice boxes, bottles or cans. Untreated juices sold in refrigerated cases of grocery or health food stores, cider mills, and farmers' markets must contain a warning label indicating that the product has not been pasteurized. However, warning labels are not required for juice or cider that is fresh-squeezed and sold by the glass. If you are unsure if a juice product is pasteurized – be sure to ask!

Keep all foods safe this summer by practicing the Four Steps to Food Safety: clean hands and surfaces often; separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods, particularly ready-to-eat foods; cook to safe temperatures; and chill foods promptly.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Paying Your Kitchen & Bath Contractor

July 10, 2013 12:26 am

With the market gradually recovering, more homeowners are spending money on remodeling projects. If they are not careful, homeowners can end up paying more than they ever expected. Here are some valuable tips on how to avoid three of the most common pitfalls.

Pitfall #1: A homeowner makes a large deposit, then gets no work done.

This is one of the most common scams among unscrupulous contractors. They ask for a big deposit or to pay for all of the materials upfront, then the homeowner never hears from them again. To avoid this pitfall, homeowners should not pay for work or materials upfront and should avoid any large deposits.

In some states, it is against the law for contractors to ask for more than 10 percent or $1,000 (whichever is less) for a downpayment. They cannot legally ask for upfront payment for materials or work. The one exception is if the contractor is ordering customer-requested custom materials.

Pitfall #2: Suppliers or subcontractors come after the homeowner for payment.

Homeowners are responsible for suppliers and subcontractors who do not get paid on their job. They can even put a lien against the home where they did the work. To avoid this pitfall, there are several strategies a homeowner can use:

• Pay the supplier or subcontractor directly.
• Issue joint checks to the contractor and supplier/subcontractor.
• Get an unconditional lien release from suppliers/subcontractors.

Pitfall #3: Homeowner is liable for an injury on the job, including lost wages.

If the general contractor does not have valid insurance, the homeowner is liable for any injuries on the job. This includes paying lost wages, if someone gets hurt and cannot work for a period of time. To avoid this pitfall, check that the general contractor has valid liability and workman’s comp insurance.

Of course, the easiest way to avoid these and other potential pitfalls is to work with a reputable contractor who has a history of paying suppliers and subcontractors on time.

Source: Cornerstone Design & Remodel

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Questions to Ask When Buying a House

July 10, 2013 12:26 am

Americans continue to have home-buying fever thanks to continued low mortgage interest rates. However, in order to help eager homebuyers avoid costly surprises down the road, GoBankingRates has put together a list of the most important – but often overlooked – questions home shoppers need to ask before committing to a home purchase and long-term mortgage debt.

1. Is renting vs. buying a better option?

Before you spend too much time looking for your dream home, you need to weigh all your options. David Bakke from the website Moneycrashers.com suggests you ask yourself the question, “Is renting vs. home buying a better option?” Depending on your situation, you may not be ready to buy, may need some time to save for a down payment, or may live in a more expensive housing market.

“If you have a lot of debt, a low credit score, or don’t have much money saved up, renting may be a better option,” advises Bakke. Someone with these factors may have to wait a few more years to be in a better financial situation before they are able to obtain a mortgage loan.

2. What is the neighborhood’s crime rate?

The second thing regarding what questions to ask when buying a house is the safety of your neighborhood and town. David Bakke sums it up great, “What is the crime rate in the area?”

3. What are my home ‘needs’ and ‘wants’?

According to Steve Aaron, a Beverly Hills REALTOR® featured on HGTV’s “Selling LA,” “No property is perfect. What are your ‘deal breakers’ vs. your wants. Where are you willing and able to compromise?” The point here is to have a shorter check-list of “must-haves” when looking at potential homes.

4. Where is the seller’s disclosure?

Even if you fall head-over-heels for a house, don’t be punch-drunk in love with it. Unlike a person, a home is just four walls — and there are plenty out there with many more being built. Aaron recommends to, “Ask the listing agent if there are any seller disclosures (known defects of material facts that can affect desirability or value) before you write an offer.” Just like a relationship, you need to take time to know your future partner, or in this case, your future home.

5. Can I make the needed home renovations or additions?

If you are looking to add on to your home or do renovations, it is wise to check the house’s zoning or area disclosure. Steven Aaron told me, “Know if the property is located in any type of historic or preservation area or area disclosure. There may be limits on adding on, aesthetics etc.”

Based on my personal experience from litigation and headaches caused by neighbors, homeowners’ associations and local, state and federal government regulations, a little homework goes a long way.”

Source: www.gobankingrates.com

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Your Guide to Coping on a Long Haul Flight

July 10, 2013 12:26 am

With cheaper and more regular flights around, an increasing amount of people are jet setting to the other side of the world, however, for people who are not used to flying or flying long haul then it can be quite daunting as well as tiresome. Here is a short guide on how to cope with the going long distance.

Firstly, if you're flying to somewhere like Sydney or Beijing, rather than opting for a straight flight thinking that you will get there quicker, it may be a good idea to search for flights with transfers or layovers so that you can get off the plane, stand up, have a walk around to get some fresh air.

Keep yourself entertained. Most airlines that operate long distance flights do have in-flight entertainment such as a TV at the back of the seat behind you. However, if you are on a seven- or 14-hour flight then you may want something more than a film to prevent you from getting bored. Most people pack away their books or magazines in their suitcase. Make sure that you pack these in your carry-on - you never know when you might fancy a read!

Throughout the flight, be sure to drink plenty of water. The temptation during long haul flights, when drinks are free, is to opt for hot, fizzy or alcoholic beverages, but you need to make sure that you keep hydrated, as dehydration is one of the worst aspects of flying.

Although most major airlines do offer a blanket or an eye mask, always be prepared. If you find it difficult to sleep on planes then ear plugs and eye masks may be something that you want to pack with you. It is also a good idea to ensure that you are wearing layers so you can adjust accordingly to the air conditioning and have a comfortable flight.

Finally, if you can, try and find a flight that sets off at night, that way you may find that for half of the journey you are sleeping and by the time you wake up you will nearly have reached your destination.

Source: SportsDirect.com

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Look for Signs of Early Aging to Combat Mid-life Crisis in Cats

July 9, 2013 4:56 am

While humans age visibly throughout their lives, cats typically do not begin to show visible signs of aging until well into maturity. By the age of seven though, a cat enters its mid-life stage — a critical timeframe for preventing diseases to help a cat age gracefully.

"Different aged adult cats may essentially look the same on the outside, but around seven years old a lot of changes start happening that may not be noticeable," says Dr. Sara Ritzie, Veterinarian and Manager of Scientific Communications at Royal Canin Canada. "The differences between a young kitten and a one-year-old cat are obvious, but the invisible and subtle differences that occur as cats progress through adulthood are just as important. The mid-life stage starts much earlier than many people may expect."

Cats exhibit three very distinct levels of aging as they mature. Invisible symptoms of the slow aging process in cats actually begin as early as seven years old, as cells age and energy needs decrease. Accelerated visible symptoms begin to take shape during the mid-life stage and can include joint sensitivities and fur changes, such as dandruff, decreased grooming and greasy coat.

At the second stage of aging, kidney disease becomes more prevalent, affecting nearly 33 per cent of cats over 12 years old. At this stage other diseases start to manifest but may not be visible until much later in life, including cognitive disorders in 28 to 50 per cent of cats, and joint sensitivities that affect nearly 90 per cent of the cat population.

"It is critical to look at preventative options at the mid-life stage for cats to prevent these diseases and typical signs of aging from taking hold early," says Dr. Ritzie. "Like for humans, nutrition plays a key role in helping cats maintain a healthy lifestyle as they mature with the right combination of nutrients for each stage of life."

Look for a food formulation that provides specific nutrients for each stage of maturity:

• Vitamins E and C - Adult cats require antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C to protect against cell damage that occurs naturally due to environmental factors, injuries and illness, and day-to-day activities.

• Antioxidants - When a cat reaches age seven, antioxidant needs increase. Adding lutein and taurine provides a broader spectrum of protection against free-radical damage that can cause disease.

• Lycopene - Cats aged 12 and over exhibit the highest amount of free-radical production and benefit from potent antioxidant protection from super-nutrients like lycopene. Because kidney disease is so common in aging cats, a decreased phosphorous level is also important to help support renal function in older felines.

"These nutrients are important building blocks to help your cat age gracefully," says Dr. Ritzie.

Source: Royal Canin

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Consumer Mortgage Rate Expectations Spike

July 9, 2013 4:56 am

Potential homebuyers may enter the purchase market sooner rather than later as more Americans expect mortgage rates and home prices to climb, according to results from Fannie Mae’s June 2013 National Housing Survey. The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up during the next 12 months jumped 11 percentage points to 57 percent, the highest level in the survey’s three-year history. Meanwhile, consumers’ home price expectations have stayed strong in the face of rising mortgage rates. The share of respondents who believe home prices will go up in the next year also hit a survey high of 57 percent, while those who say prices will go down stayed steady at 7 percent.

Although sentiment toward both the current home buying and selling environments retreated slightly, it remains near the survey highs of last month, with 72 percent saying it is a good time to buy and 36 percent saying it is a good time to sell.

“The spike in mortgage rate expectations this month seems to have had an impact on a number of the survey’s indicators and may increase housing activity in the near term by driving urgency to buy,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “Consumers may recognize that today’s still favorable mortgage rates and homeownership affordability levels will recede over time. Given rising home and rental price expectations and improving personal financial attitudes, more prospective homebuyers may be deciding that now is the time to get off the fence.”

Among those surveyed, 56 percent say rental prices will go up during the next year – an 8 percentage point increase and the highest level since the survey’s inception – and the average 12-month rental price change expectation jumped 1.2 percent to 4.6 percent. Americans’ outlook on their personal finances also increased significantly in June. The share who expect their personal financial situation to improve during the next year climbed to 46 percent, the highest level since June 2010. The share who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago jumped 6 percentage points to a survey high 26 percent.

Homeownership and Renting

• At 3.8 percent, the average 12-month home price change expectation fell slightly from last month’s survey high.
• The share of people who say home prices will go up in the next 12 months hit a survey high 57 percent, while those who say home prices will go down held steady at the survey low 7 percent.
• The share of respondents who say mortgage rates will go up increased 11 percentage points to 57 percent, the highest level since the survey’s inception.
• At 72 percent and 36 percent, respectively, the shares who say it is a good time to buy a house and who say it is a good time to sell a house both fell 4 percentage points from May’s survey highs.
• The average 12-month rental price expectation jumped to 4.6 percent, a 1.2 percent increase over last month.
• Increasing 8 percentage points from May and reaching a survey high, 56 percent of those surveyed say home rental prices will go up in the next 12 months.
• Forty-seven percent of respondents think it would be easy for them to get a home mortgage today, a slight increase over last month.
• The share of respondents who said they would buy if they were going to move decreased slightly to 65 percent.

The Economy and Household Finances

• At 38 percent, the share of respondents who say the economy is on the right track decreased 2 percentage points from May.
• The percentage of people who expect their personal financial situation to get better over the next 12 months jumped to 46 percent, the highest level since June 2010.
• The share of respondents who say their household income is significantly higher than it was 12 months ago rose 6 percentage points to a survey high 26 percent.
• The percentage of respondents who say their household expenses are significantly higher than they were 12 months ago rose to 36 percent.

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Poll Reveals Consumers Confused Over Purpose of a Budget

July 9, 2013 4:56 am

A recent poll on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website revealed that 57 percent of respondents misunderstand the purpose of a budget, viewing it as a restriction on their spending, when in fact, just the opposite is true.

“A budget actually provides the structure through which a person can be in charge of his or her spending, directing the dollars to their best use,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. “Spending should be a reflection of a person’s priorities, but without a plan, the priorities often get pushed aside in favor of the tyranny of the urgent.”

The reluctance to construct a budget suggests that people may be afraid to face the financial facts, choosing instead to allow the most pressing need or want of the moment to make the decision for them. Instead, the NFCC reminds consumers that a spending plan includes the following benefits:

• Creates a thoughtful awareness of spending
• Relieves financial stress
• Increases financial security
• Helps structure a plan for the future
• Allows planning for large purchases
• Assists in meeting financial goals
• Frees up money to designate for savings
• Uncovers money available to invest
• Allows preparation for emergencies
• Avoids late payments through scheduling timely payments
• Finds hidden money for debt repayment
• Potentially raises the credit score

Instead of being restrictive, a budget often creates more money due to smart spending choices. If financial freedom is the goal, a spending plan is the tool that starts the process.

“It’s a shame that budgeting has a negative connotation. Everyone needs a spending plan, but when times are tough, a budget is even more critical,” continued Cunningham. “When every penny counts, it’s important to count every penny.”

The first step to being in charge of your money is to track spending for at least one month. To get started, the NFCC offers a free budget worksheet which is available at http://www.nfcc.org/FinancialEducation/monthlyincome.cfm.

For professional help creating a customized budget, reach out to a trained and certified counselor at an NFCC Member Agency. To find the agency closest to you, call (800) 388-2227, or go online to www.DebtAdvice.org. For assistance in Español call (800) 682-9832.

The actual poll question and answer results are below:
I consider a monthly budget to be…
A. A restriction on how I choose to spend my money = 57%
B. A freedom allowing me to spend my money as I have chosen = 43%

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