RE/MAX 440
Tom Loughridge
tloughridge@remax440.com
Tom Loughridge
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie  PA 18944
PH: 215-453-0913
O: 215-453-7653
C: 267-716-0920
F: 267-354-6868 
Welcome Home from RE/MAX 440!

My Blog

How to Raise Money-Wise Kids

September 25, 2014 1:55 am

Kids are never too young to learn the skills of saving, budgeting, and other basics for becoming a money-wise individual.

In fact, a recent survey conducted by T. Rowe Price found that 60 percent of kids whose parents frequently talk to them about budgeting feel they are smart about money, as opposed to just 34 percent of kids whose parents do not.

Financial experts agree that the sooner parents start imparting key money concepts, the more effective they will be in raising financially responsible adults. While it may seem like an involved topic, it's as simple as starting a conversation.

"There is a clear correlation between talking with kids about financial topics and their habits," said Judith Ward, a senior financial planner with T. Rowe Price. "Parents can invest in their kids by talking to them weekly about money matters."

The survey also found that parents are having more financial conversations with boys rather than girls.

"Boys and girls should have the same opportunities to learn about money matters at home so they can grow into financially savvy adults," Ward says. "By talking to kids of either gender about things like saving for college, parents can help kids get involved and excited about their future."

How can parents start the conversation? First, learn to engage in frequent money conversations with your kids. While you can sit down to discuss in a formal manner, casual dialog may be more effective and memorable. From trips to the grocery store to a visit to your neighborhood bank, there are plenty of real-world situations where you can teach your kids about spending, saving, and other money concepts.

Ward offers these tips to help parents initiate conversation:
  • When discussing weekend plans: When your kids plan for weekend fun with friends, ask them how much the activities will cost. Find out if they have budgeted for these expenses and if they are saving for any other upcoming events.
  • When talking about their future: Ask your child what they wish to be when they grow up. This is a great opportunity to talk about what kind of college degree may be required for the profession, how much getting the degree can cost, and the need to save for it in advance.
  • When talking about extracurricular activities: When talking about extra activities like soccer, dance, karate, piano lessons and others, talk with your kids about the cost of each. Help them understand that all of these add up to a lot of money, so they can help you save by only doing the ones they really enjoy.
Use these simple tips to help integrate money conversations into your daily lives -- your kids will thank you.

Source: T. Rowe Price

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Millennials Maintain Homeownership Goals

September 25, 2014 1:55 am

A recent survey of younger Americans illustrates that the goal of homeownership remains an important part of the American Dream.

The economic future of Millennials is key to the future of housing demand. A record number of individuals aged 18 to 34 years are delaying household formation as a consequence of the Great Recession. We referred to this situation as the ‘Great Delay,’ as slow wage growth and rising student loan burdens have reduced attainment of traditional goals associated with the American Dream, including marriage and homeownership.

An important research question is whether these delays represent deferrals due to economic conditions or true changes in preferences and goals.

A recent survey from the Demand Institute provides new evidence. The study surveyed 1,000 18 to 29 year olds about current conditions and market preferences. The findings indicate that homeownership remains an important long-term goal.

Among the findings for Millennials:
  • Over the next 5 years, 8.3 million new Millennial households will form.
  • Seventy-four percent plan to move over the next five years, with the top reason being need for better housing.
  • Sixty-four percent expect to be married in five years and 55 percent expect to have kids.
  • Seventy-five percent believe homeownership is an important long-term goal and 73 percent believe ownership is an excellent investment.
  • Twenty-four percent currently own a home and another sixty percent plan to purchase.
  • Thirty-six percent expect their next home to be a multifamily rental, while another 36 percent expect it to be a single-family owner-occupied residence.
  • Forty-eight percent prefer their next home to be in the suburbs, while 38 percent want urban locations.
  • Eighty-eight percent own a car.
  • Student loans do delay homeownership (but college raises lifetime incomes).
  • Forty-four percent think it will be difficult to qualify for a mortgage.
Source: NAHB

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Protect Your Mortgage Data from Hackers

September 25, 2014 1:55 am

Because they’re part of the financial industry, mortgage lending sites have the benefit of regulation that extends to online cyber security. Though mortgage websites are more secure than others, homeowners must still take steps to ensure their mortgage documents remain inaccessible to hackers. Research a lender thoroughly before handing over any personal information, and confirm that their website is secure by considering these qualifications.
1. Is the site securely connected? The best indicator of a secure connection is the ‘https’ URL and lock symbol beside it. If a pop-up warning arises, don’t ignore it.

2. Does the site require a password? Make sure the password prompt requires a strong code with combinations of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

3. Does the site offer an alternative message form? Seek out another form of communicating with your lender other than email.

4. Has the lender informed you of their security measures? If not, ask. You will be able to gauge whether or not security is a priority for them by their response.
Once you’ve evaluated a website for security clearance, continue to view credit reports throughout the year to find evidence of identity theft, especially if you have a new mortgage. Be aware that while some information will be public record (address, purchase price, etc.), sensitive data such as a Social Security number and tax returns should always remain between you and the lender.

Source: Bankrate

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Seasonal Home Decor: 5 Fall Trends

September 24, 2014 1:55 am

With fall in full swing, homeowners should take time to transition from summertime decor to autumnal accents throughout the home. Usher in the change of seasons by pairing these trends with rich, saturated colors.
  • Go natural. Natural and organic patterns are a big trend this fall -- add branch-patterned textiles and wall coverings for a dose of whimsy. A swirled or marbleized pattern is also popular and works well on accent pillows or bedding. For an unexpected twist, try an oversized natural organic print painted onto a dining room wall. For a crisp, monochromatic look, paint the design in two shades of the same color.
  • Glamour-ize. Try changing out the hardware on an accent chest or dresser, or hang a fun light fixture in an office, powder room or bedroom in a gold finish. It's okay to mix finishes in this case -- gold blends nicely with bronze and black finishes used elsewhere in the home.
  • Create coziness. Cooler weather encourages the transition from sleek and modern kitchens to a more cozy, relaxed feel for the space. Add décor and accessories created from reclaimed wood for a warm, rustic space this season.
  • Add sparkle. Large mirrors and mirrored surfaces add depth and interest to any space. Use a leaning floor mirror in a dining room, a large round mirror over a fireplace or entry console, or a large hanging mirror in a small space to reflect light and make a space appear larger. For a real wow factor, use a collection of vintage mirrors along a hallway or staircase to create a striking gallery display.
  • Mix it up. Avoid matching and coordinating sets, décor and fabrics. Bring in a mix of styles, old and new, and crisp and soft. This will make your home look lived in and add a designer touch.
Source: Ace Hardware

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Traveling in 2015? Here's What You Can Expect

September 24, 2014 1:55 am

Planning ahead is always a wise travel move, and it's certainly not too early to start thinking about making plans for 2015. Before booking their next trip, travelers should consider the travel industry trends that will shape 2015 so they can make the most enjoyable and cost-effective travel decisions. Keep in mind these 10 upcoming travel trends.

1. Rates and occupancy levels will be higher, especially in major cities and upscale hotels, due to the recovering economy. Do your research to find deals on higher-end hotels, and of course book early.

2. Travelers going to Europe will increase as Americans start spending more again on travel, and inter-Europe travel also rises. Look at traveling to Europe during the off seasons of 2015 for the best deals.

3. The one trend that doesn't change is booking in advance. Promotions to encourage early bookings will grow. Hotels use these to sell rooms by offering deals that are valid for just a few hours, typically for stays anytime.

4. Specialty vacations will continue to increase and become much more mainstream. Consumers are looking to blend their interests and activities with their travels, and vacations that focus on the environment, sports, or spa/yoga/health will see big growth in 2015.

5. Similarly to other industries, companies will find ways to make travel and travel offers more personalized for individuals. Vendors in 2015 will try to match their offers to consumers' specific needs and wants, which creates a win-win where travelers are more likely to enjoy their trips, and vendors make more sales.

6. There will be more ways to book travel in 2015, including unpublished rate programs.

7. From purchasing rooms and airfare to mobile-based check-ins, the industry will shift to allow consumers to be more in charge. This means mobile functions as well as automation, such as replacing room service with 24/7 grab-and-go options and self-luggage check in.

8. Mobile dominates travel. Airlines and hotel operators will have to accommodate the desires of mobile travelers who expect to be able to complete bookings through apps, pull boarding passes, and perform nearly any other function. Easier access to charging will also need to be addressed.

9. Value will be a focus for leisure travelers. Consumers always want to feel like they are receiving good value for their money. This doesn't always mean rock bottom pricing, but includes other aspects such as location, amenities, convenience and more.

10. A trend that combines the need for mobile-friendly travel with "value" is for hotels to offer free (and fast) Wi-Fi. Travelers simply expect to be connected whenever they are at a hotel, and free Wi-Fi can be more important than any other amenity. It's one of the most requested hotel perks, and hotel review sites are filled with notes about Wi-Fi (or lack thereof).

Source: GetaRoom.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

A Home Inspection Primer Pt. 1 - The Seller's Advantage

September 24, 2014 1:55 am

Every month, I chat with real estate pros and related service providers about issues affecting many consumers and homeowners. One of the most frequent areas of discussion involves home inspections.

Nothing may have greater impact on both a seller or buyer than the home inspection. If it's done right, both parties can benefit - but if a home inspection is done poorly, it could haunt both the buyer and seller for a long time after the closing.

The site helpinghomesellers.com offers a wealth of good information regarding home inspections. In the next couple of segments, we'll relate some of these savvy tips on home inspections.

According to this consumer information site, a home inspection can be helpful to a seller because it shifts some of the liability over to the inspector. If a problem the inspector missed (that the seller was unaware of) arises at a later date, they may have a legitimate defense if the new buyer has a serious complaint.

Inspectors document existing problems, issues and anything that remotely looks like a potential problem. Then they present a written list of the areas inspected and of “concerns” to the buyers, who may be present to learn about maintenance recommendations.

So is it best to have everything repaired before the inspection? Not necessarily, according to helpinghomesellers.com.

If homeowners have a few minor problems that are not obvious, but an inspection would catch them, consider holding off on their repair.

Why not repair these? Repairing these "hidden" types of things in advance won't earn sellers many points.

If they are discovered (and they might not be), a seller can enhance the possibility of closing the sale by agreeing to have small items like a broken toilet or unstable downspout repaired.

Don't forget, even a house in "perfect" condition will likely produce something on a report to reassure potential buyers that their inspector is doing a professional job. Better they come up with something you were going to fix anyway, rather than to keep digging to come up with something to justify their fee.

Ultimately, helpinghomesellers.com says don't let a few hundred dollars in repair requests be a deal breaker. A seller shouldn't have to start all over again just because a buyer (or their home inspector) is getting the upper hand on this important contingency.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Keep Family Safe from Home's Hidden Hazards

September 23, 2014 1:56 am

(Family Features) In the U.S. alone, approximately 60 million people suffer from asthma and allergies, which can be triggered by mold for those who are allergic. As a responsible homeowner, it’s essential to be aware of the many threats, such as mold and fire, which may cause harm to your family and your investment.

Mold – Mold can grow practically anywhere within the home, and has the ability to produce irritants and allergens that compromise the health of your family. To keep mold-producing moisture out, Lucas Hamilton, building scientist and expert with CertainTeed, suggests:
  • When weather allows, ventilate your home by opening windows and doors to let moisture escape. If necessary, use a fan to allow air to circulate.
  • Because moisture is unavoidable in any home, its presence in the wall cavity is almost inevitable and can be dangerous if not addressed. Your best prevention is with quality insulation that provides a healthier indoor environment by reducing the risk of mold and mildew and improving overall indoor air quality.
  • While you won’t be able to stop rain from creating a wet mess in your basement or crawlspace, you can take action to steer water away. Make sure a proper grade exists in your yard to prevent water from reaching the foundation.
Fire – Beyond investing in quality smoke and fire detectors, there are several other things to consider to keep your home free from flames:
  • Before hanging up a mirror or wall art, make sure you aren’t driving a nail through the wiring in the walls — a danger that accounts for thousands of home fires each year. To avoid this mishap, switch out circuit breakers with arc-fault circuit interrupters, which detect sparks and prevent them from blazing.
  • The kitchen is a hot spot for fires to start. Always keep combustible items such as towels, pot holders and cookbooks at least 3-4 feet from burners, the oven and other heat sources.
  • Reduce the risk of fire by having your clothes dryer cabinet professionally cleaned every few years. If enough lint accumulates within the dryer, the heating element within the appliance can start a fire.
Take the proper steps now to avoid unsafe conditions within the home. In the long run, it can save you time, money and even the well-being of your family.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Update Your Bedding with Three Hot Trends

September 23, 2014 1:56 am

Nothing transforms the look of a bedroom faster than new bed linens. Whether you want to create a serene atmosphere, liven up a neutral space or swap your bedding for a seasonal alternative, consider introducing one of this year’s trends – white, stripes or geometric shapes – that fit beautifully with any existing décor.

White – White is the color of soft, pillowy clouds. To avoid that sterile, ‘blank slate’ feel, layer white in varying shades and textures, such as a cream-colored throw blanket, sandy-white pillows or eggshell lampshades.

Stripes
– Typically found in nautical décor, stripes add visual interest and can be preppy, modern or vintage depending on the dimensions of the pattern. Wider widths and vibrant colors make a dramatic statement; pinstripes and muted colors are much more subtle.

Geometric – Geometric-shaped patterns speak volumes about one’s personality, so incorporate according to your style and preferences. Geometric prints on larger areas, such as a comforter, quilt or bed sheets, have greater impact, but smaller geometric bed accessories, such as pillows, have longevity.

Source: ApartmentTherapy.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Five Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

September 23, 2014 1:56 am

Is your relationship with your financial advisor productive? Are you confident about your financial decisions after leaving a meeting, or are you left scratching your head at the proposed investment strategy? Take the lead with your financial advisor by asking these five questions.

1. Are we on the same page?
Have you communicated your investment goals clearly to your financial advisor? With a clear goal in mind, outline long-term objectives, as well as your approach to investing. Setting these expectations will help you avoid searching for a new advisor or worse – potentially damaging your portfolio.

2. How will you achieve my financial goals?
Whether you’re seeking to gain returns or minimize your taxes, it’s important that your financial advisor informs you exactly how he or she is going to make those goals a reality. Be wary of false promises – no matter what your advisor tells you, the stock market is unpredictable. Another red flag: your advisor has not reviewed your tax returns.

3. Can you explain this better?
Financial advisors often use professional terms that may or may not resonate with the average investor. While it’s great that they know their stuff, don’t be afraid to ask that he or she explains everything in detail. If a financial plan seems too complex, even after an explanation, request that the plan be condensed so that you adopt a feasible strategy that meets your needs and understanding.

4. What other resources do you have?
It’s perfectly acceptable to ask your advisor to direct you to other sources of financial information. Ideally, your advisor will have a list of websites, books or pamphlets to further educate you about your investment options.

5. How often will you contact me?
To keep the lines of communication open, establish a schedule with your advisor for quarterly phone calls, annual meetings, etc. Be sure to state which method of communication you prefer, and whether you want your spouse to be involved in the conversation.

Source: Consumer Reports

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

10 Ways to Avoid Fall Youth Sports Injuries

September 22, 2014 1:55 am

Football, soccer, cheerleading and volleyball are popular fall youth sports activities. As kids settle into the new school year, they're also excited to hit the field again. To help reduce the risk of common injuries, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) offer safety tips to keep kids in the game and out of the doctor’s office.

"Overuse injuries are the most common types of sports-related injuries," said AAOS spokesperson Michael S. George, MD. "Often times the initial aches and pains felt during the progression of an injury are overlooked by young athletes. It's essential to teach them about the importance of informing a coach or parent about pain because an undiagnosed injury can become more severe in the long run."

Here are 10 ways to avoid injury:

1. Have a pre-season physical examination and follow doctor recommendations.
2. Warm up and cool down properly with low-impact exercises like walking or cycling.
3. Consistently incorporate strength training and stretching. A good stretch involves not going beyond the point of resistance and should be held for 10-12 seconds.
4. Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize muscle cramps. Waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly.
5. Keep an eye out for unsafe play surfaces. Playing grounds should be in good condition.
6. Don't play through the pain. Speak with a sports medicine specialist or athletic trainer if you have any concerns about injuries.
7. When participating, wear protective gear such as properly fitted cleats, pads, helmets, mouth guard or other necessary equipment for the selected sport.
8. Play multiple positions and/or sports during the off-season to minimize overuse injuries.
9. Pay attention to weather conditions such as wet, slippery fields that can lead to injuries.
10. Avoid the pressure to overtrain. Listen to your body and decrease training time and intensity if pain or discomfort develops. This will reduce the risk of injury and help avoid "burn-out."

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags: