Karen Kemmerer
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie, PA18944
Phone: 215-453-7653 x1125
Office: 215-453-7653
Cell: 267-446-7748
Fax: 267-354-6831
email: kkemmerer@remax440.com
RE/MAX 440
Karen Kemmerer

Perkasie PA Real Estate News

Mind-Body Practices that Can Change Your Life

August 19, 2014 5:57 am

There is a lot of advice floating around out there about the best ways to manage your life and improve your professional success.

Entrepreneur Magazine recently interviewed five mega-successful individuals – including media magnate Oprah Winfrey and author/entrepreneur Arianna Huffington – to unearth some of the mind-body practices they say helped propel them to success.

Read the responses of these entrepreneurs and decide for yourself if making any or all of their five suggested changes may help vault you to greater accomplishment:

  • Deepening the human connection – Entrepreneur Seth Godin, author of “Tribes,” tries to tap in to the human desire for connection and belonging. He advises investing heavily in relationships that matter, cultivating strong ties to friends and family that increase trust and personal security and open the mind to better networking and decision-making.
  • Creating energy through exercise – More than one highly successful individual recommends regular physical exercise as a means to opening the mind. Whether it’s walking, yoga, or workouts at the gym, cultivating a healthy body can increase creative energy.
  • Getting enough sleep – If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you will crash and burn at some point, said Huffington. Good sleep habits increase mental acuity and foster a balanced emotional state.
  • Being grateful – Successful people are grateful people, said Winfrey. They remember to appreciate what they have every day and to say thanks often along the journey. The more you do that, Oprah says, the more successful you become.
  • Using stillness as a motivator - Whether it’s meditation, yoga or any other method of achieving a calm state of mind, respondents noted that being perfectly still for some period of every day promotes inner peace, increases the ability to react appropriately, and helps you to better solve problems.

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Be Wary of Fall Home Maintenance Scams

August 18, 2014 5:45 am

When autumn arrives, many homeowners prepare their homes for cooler weather by hiring specialists to clean and make repairs. Be mindful of cons during this time of year – scammers use this opportunity to swindle homeowners out of thousands of dollars for unnecessary work. Be wary of these four scams typically advertised during the fall season.

Chimney repairs – Scammers disguised as chimney sweeps will tell you your chimney needs to be inspected, and then use hard sales tactics to get you to make expensive, unfounded repairs. Don’t fall for it.

Gutter cleaning – Fraudulent gutter cleaners tend to prey on the elderly or those who cannot clean their gutters easily. They will assure you that they’ve worked in the neighborhood before, and quote you a very low estimate in return for shoddy, incomplete work.

Energy audits – Many scammers offer a “free” energy audit to reduce heating costs, claiming to be a representative from your local utility company. They insist on costly upgrades for your attic, such as solar blankets or insulation, and may or may not burglarize your home while conducting the audit.

Ductwork cleaning – Ductwork cleaning is rarely a necessity, so take caution. Scammers are known to damage your heating system while cleaning it in order to leech more money out of you for repairs. They also may create indoor air hazards.

Before scheduling maintenance with an unknown service provider, research the individual or company through your local BBB or the Internet. Seek out referrals from trusted family and friends, check for proper licensing and never pay upfront.

Source: Consumer Reports

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Fixed Mortgage Rates Edge Lower

August 18, 2014 5:45 am

Freddie Mac recently released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®) showing average fixed mortgage rates following bond yields lower. Averaging 4.12 percent for the week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage once again is at its 2014 low.

"Mortgage rates were down slightly amid a week of light economic reports,” notes Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist. “Of the few releases, retail sales were virtually unchanged in July after a 0.2 percent increase in June, ending five months of increases. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, retail sales were up 0.1 percent last month."

Survey findings include:
  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.12 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending August 14, 2014, down from last week when it averaged 4.14 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.40 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.24 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.27 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.44 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.97 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.98 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.23 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.36 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.35 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.67 percent.
Average commitment rates and average fees and points reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Source: Freddie Mac

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Employers Look for 3 'Cs' When Hiring

August 18, 2014 5:45 am

(BPT) - Whether you are an employer looking to hire someone or the person looking to get hired, it's all about competency. Only 11 percent of employers believe recent graduates have the skills needed to succeed within their work forces, according to a recent Lumina Foundation report. Two-thirds of employers say recent college graduates may have the skills and knowledge for entry-level positions, but less than half believe recent graduates have what it takes for advancement to higher level jobs, according to a 2013 survey conducted for the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

So what are these essential competencies that candidates are missing? At the top of the list are the three ‘Cs’: critical thinking, collaboration and communication. Hiring officers look for candidates with good problem-solving abilities, the ability to work in teams, and those who have good verbal and written communications skills. For the traditional college graduate in his or her early 20's, much of their focus in school was spent on mastering subject matter, not necessarily on cultivating the three ‘Cs’. They may have a degree, but not much else in the way of experience. On the other hand, working adults who are earning their degrees later in life have had ample opportunity to hone these skills and are lacking the credential - a diploma - to get hired or promoted.

A new approach to higher education taking hold on campuses and in board rooms is called competency-based education. Under this model, students can receive credit for knowledge and skills they already possess. A 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 87 percent of Americans believe students should be able to receive college credit for knowledge and skills obtained outside the classroom. Some schools are well-established leaders in this practice. Degree programs like these define what students must know, have well-defined learning outcomes and have a rigorous means of assessing whether students have achieved these outcomes.

How can job candidates, young or older, demonstrate both subject-matter mastery and competence? To start, first evaluate and identify your unique combination of skills, values and personal traits. Research the job that you are seeking and the company that is doing the hiring. Think broadly and don't confine yourself to the same industry in which you may have experiences, either as an employee or a student who had an internship. List the knowledge you have gained and skills you have developed.

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Three Ways to Avoid Getting Outbid on Your New Home

August 15, 2014 5:09 am

"Bidding for a new home can get pretty fierce in today's market," said Gibran Nicholas, Chairman of CMPS Institute, an organization that trains and certifies mortgage bankers and brokers.  "In some cases, you may be competing with more than a dozen other buyers who are bidding on the same property."  Here are three potential solutions to avoid getting outbid on your new home:

1 - Turn in your loan paperwork BEFORE you place an offer.  In many cases, you are bidding against cash buyers who don't need to wait for financing approvals. Look at it this way: if you were the seller, would you prefer to do business with a buyer who needs to wait for financing approvals, or a cash buyer who can close the deal quickly?  "That's why it's important to be proactive," Nicholas said.  "Provide your mortgage lender with things like your source of down payment funds, your asset documentation, your credit report and your income documentation.  This way, you'll be in a better position to close the deal quickly and compete with those cash buyers."

2 - Pay cash, but do it right. "Keep in mind that you only have 90 days after closing to place a mortgage on a property that you bought with cash if you want to secure your tax deduction," Nicholas said.  "In order to get that loan approval after closing, you'll need to document the source of funds that you used for your cash purchase. Talk to a CMPS professional for more details so that you can avoid problems down the road."

3 - Consider lender-paid mortgage insurance. Lender paid mortgage insurance allows you to accept a slightly higher interest rate in exchange for no mortgage insurance. "This is very useful because it's often less expensive than FHA insurance or Private Mortgage Insurance," Nicholas said.  "The lower monthly payment that results with this option can help you to afford a higher priced home, or at least get more comfortable paying at or above list price for the home you want."

Source: HomeQB.com

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Simple Ways to Balance Back-to-School Lunches

August 15, 2014 5:09 am

(Family Features) When you supply your kids with nutritious and sensible choices, you're ensuring a productive day in the classroom and beyond. It's simple to make lunch and snack time fun by tossing in some new, wholesome options that add variety and appeal for your little learner.

The most important nutrients parents seek when selecting the foods they feed their kids are protein, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D and iron. While stocking up on foods rich in these nourishing elements is certainly helpful, there's no way to ensure your child will eat them. However, recent studies have found that kids are actually more likely than their parents to be the first of their friends to try new food or nutrition products.

Take the opportunity to start nutritious eating habits at a young age with flavorful food combinations that create balance at snack and meal time. A recent study shows that replacing non-nutrient rich snack foods (like chips) with a combination of healthy alternatives can help reduce calories by 72 percent and keep kids feeling fuller longer.
  • Protein Picks: To keep them feeling satisfied and fuller longer, include a few protein-packed choices in their lunch bag. Some options include roasted chicken, steamed edamame, hard boiled eggs, nuts or cheese.
  • Sweet Additions: Make their midday meal and snack time more complete with the addition of one or two servings of fruit. Some delicious options include apples, apricots, strawberries, blueberries, kiwis or pears.
  • Fresh Finds: Many vegetables offer fiber and other nutrients not found in other snacks. Throw in a bag of chopped vegetables, such as baby carrots, broccoli florets, celery, red bell peppers or sugar snap peas.
With a balanced approach to eating, you'll be able to send the whole family off to school or work prepared for whatever their busy day brings. You may also introduce them to some new favorite foods.

Source: Babybel

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Study Shows Commuting Alone Remains Top Choice for American Workers

August 15, 2014 5:09 am

A recent Census release discussed changes in bicycling and walking to work since 2000. Local governments have actively promoted walking and bicycling, sometimes as explicit criteria for new development.

Based on the Census data, tabulations from the National Association of Homebuilders show that from 2000 to 2012, the U.S. added 12.7 million workers, and the largest change in commuting was 10.4 million more Americans driving themselves to work alone in a vehicle.

Although the share of workers driving alone was lower in 2012 than in 2005, there was something of a spike in 2005—so the driving-alone share was actually higher in 2012 than in 2006-2009.

Next largest was a nearly 2 million increase in Americans working at home—while car pooling actually declined by 1.9 million. Other changes, including changes in bicycling and walking, were considerably smaller.

In summary, since 2000, the U.S. has added over 10 million workers, and driving alone remains the dominant means of commuting. The changes in numbers of bicyclers and walkers over that time, while positive, are small in comparison. Any success in keeping cars off the road during rush hour has been largely due to letting electrons and photons do the commuting while people work from home. The ongoing decline in car pooling, meanwhile, has been a largely untold story.

Source: NAHB

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4 Ways to Redecorate on a Teeny-Tiny Budget

August 14, 2014 4:57 am

You’ve done the spring cleaning, and you look around your home and suddenly, it looks a bit tired. If you’re longing for a re-do, but the budget is thin, what can you do on a shoestring?

Sara Mendez, a décor consultant at a California thrift store, offers four ideas to spruce up your home and change the look with a minimum outlay of cash:

Organize
– start by stashing stuff that’s lying around. A cheap bookcase will hold books and magazines in the living room – or toys or shoes in the bedroom. Look for pre-owned furniture that can double as storage – a coffee table with drawers, for example, or an ottoman that opens up to hold toys, linens, or paperwork.

Rearrange
– Changing the location of the couch or the bed is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make a room feel different. Rearranging your space can also open your eyes to the nooks and crannies where a single decorative plant or a few colorful pillows can make all the difference in the world.

Repurpose
– Re-using things you already have can make a difference, too. Re-cover a couch or a chair in a new fabric – or add a few colorful pillows. Paint a room, or one wall of the room, for a completely new look – or refinish or paint an old dresser or end table to make it look new and smart. If the budget allows, buy a small, pre-owned table or other accent piece or two and paint them in a jazzy accent color to add interest to a room.

Personalize
– Picture frames are cheap at a thrift store, especially if you are willing to change out the pictures inside them for posters or colorful prints that reflects your own taste. Or use the frames to create a family photo montage on one wall, or even samples of your children’s best art work.

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The Top Six Summer Dining Trends

August 14, 2014 4:57 am

Restaurants typically experience a surge in business in warmer months. Restaurant.com recently revealed summer dining trends that show seafood orders and Thursday night dining are popular among hungry Americans during the summer season. The findings were compiled based on data collected over four years from more than 16 million visits to local restaurants.

Though weekends remain a popular time for restaurant dining, Thursday night dining out increased in popularity by more than 10 percent during the summer season, while Friday (down three percent) and Saturday (down eight percent) saw a slight decline. Other summer dining trends include:

Gone Fishing:
Summer is the season for seafood. Warm weather and beachfront vacations contributed to the nearly 40 percent increase in the popularity of restaurants serving sea-based cuisine. This summer favorite reaches its lowest number of orders in December; it's most popular during the month of July.

The Raw and the Cooked: When warm weather rolls in, diners like to order sushi rolls. Visits to sushi restaurants increase by nearly 20 percent during the summer season. In fact, dining with Japanese cuisine in general jumps 21.4 percent in the summer, showing the popularity of Hibachi grills and Japanese steaks.

Barbeque Boom: The backyard barbecue is the unofficial meal of summer, but the other kind of barbecue is popular with diners, too. Restaurants serving up saucy, smoked meats and sides come in as the fourth most popular cuisine among summer diners, enjoying a 9.5 percent increase from May through August.

On the Road: With school out for summer and warmer temperatures luring professionals from their desks, many Americans make their dining plans on the go. Dining certificates purchased on mobile phones spike by 16 percent during June, July and August.

Source: Restaurant.com

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Enhance Your Home's Exterior During National Curb Appeal Month

August 14, 2014 4:57 am

August is National Curb Appeal Month, dedicated to helping homeowners focus on ways to add value and design appeal to their home's exterior.

"Real estate agents tell us that potential home buyers make a 'street decision' in less than 12 seconds on whether or not to view a home that's for sale," says Niki Decker, senior manager of product and marketing for Fypon, creator of National Curb Appeal Month. "That's a very short time to make a large impression and it all relies on the curb appeal of the house.

"Different curb appeal elements, such as well-maintained shrubbery, decorative millwork and trim, colorful plants and an appealing front entryway can have a fast, positive impact on home buyers. Even if your home is not for sale, curb appeal is important in setting a welcoming tone for your family and visitors."

According to the 2014 Cost vs. Value Study conducted by Remodeling magazine, many products added to the home have a high return-on-investment at the time of a home sale. Adding energy-efficient vinyl windows as a mid-range project to a home can have a cost recoup value of 78.7 percent, while the addition of vinyl siding can have 78.2 percent recoup rate.

The same study reports that the replacement of an easy-care fiberglass entry door can have 70.8 percent of the cost recouped, while a new roof on the home has a 67.6 percent cost recoup. A recent study from the National Association of Home Builders reports that the three most wanted outdoor features consumers desire for their home exteriors are lighting, a patio and a front porch.

"Whether you're adding a new component to the home's exterior or 'sprucing up' existing elements, color plays a major role in creating curb appeal," says Kate Smith, president of Sensational Color. "Adding color to the home exterior should be done in a 'top-down' approach so there's a unified flow that creates an overall pleasing impression.

Source: Fypon

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