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 Ideas for Celebrating Presidents’ Day With Your Kids

February 15, 2018 1:09 am

Looking for a neat way to celebrate Presidents’ Day with your tot? Below are a few fun ideas perfect for an easy afternoon.

Have a history lesson. Depending on how old your kids are, take them on a little history tour. Focus on your favorite president, or a specific time period. Look online for easy lessons or videos to share.

Do a presidential craft project. Red, white and blue collages? Presidential mobile? A White House inspired gingerbread house? The options are endless when it comes to president-inspired crafts.

Decorate the house. Now that you have that presidential art project finished, use it to help your child decorate the house. Add a red tablecloth and some blue balloons, or deck out your kid's bedroom together.

Cook a meal fit for a president. Cooking together is a great way to bond, and at the end of it, you have a delicious meal. Sit down with your child and plan a fancy lunch or dinner menu fit for the White House, take them shopping for ingredients, and hit the kitchen.

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4 Times to Put Your Phone Away

February 15, 2018 1:09 am

Just about all of us could benefit from a device diet. While a boon on so many levels, sometimes smartphones have gone too far in permeating our lives. A great way to detach even just a little bit, is to create boundaries around certain times and events, making them non-negotiable device-free zones for you and your loved ones.

Here are four places to consider making your phone off-limits:

Dinner. Hopefully, this is already a rule for many of you. But take a look around the next restaurant you’re at and you’ll see that’s not the case for a lot of people. Mealtime, especially dinner, is meant for relaxing and meaningfully connecting with friends and family. Everyone is so busy all day long, we need this hour for ourselves, don’t you think? Plus, not only is the social component important, but slow, mindful eating is important for your body, as well. If there are reasons you must have your device handy, such as a baby at home with a sitter, keep it on vibrate in your pocket, then check it when you use the restroom. Also, remember the old-fashioned way: give the sitter the name of the restaurant you’re going to so he or she can call there in case of an emergency.

The Movies. This is a rule in most movie theaters, yet we continue to see the haunting glow of mobile devices popping up throughout the audience. Enjoy the art of seeing a movie on the big screen and leave your small screen in your pocket - if not for yourself, out of respect for the rest of the people who paid $17 to get lost in an old-school cinematic experience.

Waiting in Line. This one’s a challenge, but well worth it. Research has shown that our creative thinking abilities are being diminished by our constant occupation with our mobile device every time we have a spare moment to kill. So, next time you’re in line at Starbucks or at the airport, resist the urge to pull out your phone and instead...let your mind wander. Maybe even strike up a conversation with the person in front of you. You never know where this exercise could lead.

A Concert. While mobile devices allow us to blast out on social that we’re at the concert of the year, as well as film the entire set, the downside is that we’re starting to miss the point - we’re at a live concert! So, take a couple of pictures, capture your favorite song, then put the phone away and immerse yourself in the concert experience - the crowd, the singing along, the lights, the performance. If you’re posting, snapchatting, tweeting, etc., sure, you’re telling the world you were there…but were you really there?

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How to Claim Tax Credit for Retirement Savings

February 15, 2018 1:09 am

It's tax time, and you're claiming those office expenses and miles logged getting to and from work, but are you taking the "Saver's Credit"? The Saver's Credit, also referred to as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit by the Internal Revenue Service, is available to eligible taxpayers who are saving for retirement, yet 64 percent of workers are unaware of the credit, according to the 18th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey.

"As a tax credit, the Saver's Credit is an important incentive to save for retirement in a 401(k), 403(b) or IRA. By saving for retirement and claiming the credit, eligible taxpayers may be able to lower their federal income taxes," says Catherine Collinson, president of nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. "Millions of Americans who are already saving for retirement could be missing out on the Saver's Credit simply because they don't know it exists. Among those who are not yet saving for retirement, the Saver's Credit could be the incentive they need to get started."

What Is the Saver's Credit?

The Saver's Credit is a non-refundable tax credit that may be applied up to the first $2,000 of voluntary contributions an eligible worker makes to a 401(k), 403(b) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan, or a traditional or Roth IRA. The maximum credit is $1,000 for single filers or individuals and $2,000 for married couples.

"The Saver's Credit is a tax credit in addition to the benefit of tax-advantaged savings when contributing to a 401(k), 403(b) or IRA. Many eligible retirement savers may be confusing these two incentives because the notion of a double tax benefit seems too good to be true," says Collinson.

Who Can Claim the Saver's Credit?

The credit is available to workers ages 18 years or older who have contributed to a company-sponsored retirement plan or IRA in the past year and meet the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) requirements:

- Single filers with an AGI of up to $31,000 in 2017 or $31,500 in 2018 are eligible;

- For the head of a household, the AGI limit is $46,500 in 2017 or $47,250 in 2018; and,

- For those who are married and file a joint return, the AGI limit is $62,000 in 2017 or $63,000 in 2018.

Additionally, the filer cannot be a full-time student and cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return.

How Can Workers Claim the Saver's Credit?

"Workers who are eligible to receive the Saver's Credit are at risk of missing it if they use the wrong tax form. If you are eligible to claim the Saver's Credit, you should use Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040NR. The Saver's Credit is not available on Form 1040EZ," says Collinson.

Another important and potentially overlooked opportunity is the IRS Free File program. Workers who are eligible to claim the Saver's Credit are also eligible to take advantage of this program that offers federal income tax preparation software for free to tax filers with an AGI of $66,000 or less. Unfortunately, a concerning 55 percent of workers are unaware of this program, according to the 18th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey. Twelve companies make their tax preparation software available through this program at www.irs.gov/FreeFile. Certain restrictions may apply.

Tips for claiming the Saver's Credit:

- If you’re using tax preparation software to prepare your tax return, including those programs offered through the IRS Free File program, use Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040NR. The credit is not available with Form 1040EZ. If your software has an interview process, be sure to answer questions about the Saver's Credit, also referred to as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit and/or Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.

- If you’re preparing your tax return manually, complete Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions, to determine your exact credit rate and amount. Then, transfer the amount to the designated line on Form 1040, Form 1040A or Form 1040NR.

- If you’re using a professional tax preparer, be sure to ask about the Saver's Credit.

- If you receive a refund, consider directly depositing it into an IRA to further boost your retirement savings.

"Please spread the word about the Saver's Credit by telling your family, friends and colleagues – and be sure to check whether you're eligible. Many people who contributed to a 401(k) plan or IRA in 2017 are eligible to receive it, but may be missing out because they don't know about it," says Collinson. "Those who are eligible but did not save last year can still contribute to an IRA until April 17, 2018 and may be able to claim the Saver's Credit for 2017."

Source: Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies

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Should You Spend the Rest of Winter Prepping to Sell This Spring?

February 12, 2018 1:03 am

Many of us like nothing more than binging on Netflix or a series of good books during the waning weeks of winter.

But if there is even a chance that you might put your home on the market in 2018, a number of sources say the time to start preparing is at hand.

Brent Ash at centennialconstructionremodeling.com says now is the time to make your home sale-ready. Small home improvement projects will add curb appeal to your property and make the selling process as smooth as possible.

Ash suggests conducting a pre-listing conversation with a trusted contractor to catch any red flags that can prevent the sale from taking place. He says by identifying and correcting major issues now, you will gain peace of mind throughout the selling process.

For anyone who can move their home to the launch pad sooner than later, that agent says the remaining days of winter are a great time to list, as prospective buyers looking through late 2017 have exhausted limited inventory, and new buyers are 'moving in' to their home search as well.

Real estate professional Kelly Maguire says sellers should be sure to request and review a comparative market analysis (CMA), which will provide an initial snapshot of your home’s value.

Keep in mind that pricing and market conditions can change between now and the time you list, Maguire says, but knowing where you stand today will be helpful in planning both your sale and your next purchase.
One New York metro REALTOR agreed strongly, saying that pricing your house correctly is most critical when you first enter the market.

But the first thing to do is take a good walk through your property or ask someone like a trusted family member or friend to look at your home with the eyes of a prospective buyer and honestly evaluate your home objectively – with all its positives and negatives.

Next, get to work putting the property in tip top shape ahead of your 2018 listing!

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Tips to Help Prevent or Identify Vision Loss

February 12, 2018 1:03 am

Many of us will need glasses in our lifetime, even if we have 20/20 vision in our youth. However, there are some things you can do to prevent vision loss, or at least identify it and treat is quickly.

Lighthouse Guild offers the following tips:

Get regular eye exams. Vision screenings and eye exams are critical to maintaining eye health. Comprehensive dilated eye exams for adults can help detect glaucoma, macular degeneration and other serious eye diseases that can lead to blindness. Vision screenings can help detect problems, such amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, in children.

Speak up if your vision changes. If you notice blurry spots, blurred vision, halos surrounding lights, eyes that itch or burn, black spots or "floaters," double vision, tearing or watering eyes, or if you find yourself squinting or having trouble reading or watching television, it's time to make an appointment. An eye doctor should be made aware of any gradual changes in your vision so the necessary action can be taken to maintain eye health.

Seek urgent care. Seek urgent care if you experience sudden and/or severe eye pain, sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes, light flashes, or if your eyes turn bright red. Any of these could indicate a severe problem and should be addressed immediately.

Get UV-protected sunglasses. Tinted glasses will not necessarily protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. It is important to get good quality eyewear that provides both UVA and UVB coverage to protect your eyes properly.

Give your eyes a rest from the effects of digital eye strain. This type of eye strain—also known as computer vision syndrome—doesn't permanently damage eyesight, but symptoms could include burning or tired eyes, headaches, neck pain, fatigue, blurred or double vision. To rest your eyes, it's good to look up from your work every 20 minutes, focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds (the 20-20-20 rule).

Dr. Laura Sperazza, Director of Low Vision Services at Lighthouse Guild, says, "The most important thing you can do to protect your vision is to get an eye exam.  If you find out you're in the early stages of an eye disease, your eye care professional will help you maintain the highest possible level of eye health and visual function."

Source: Lighthouse Guild

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How-to Ward off Winter Sport Injuries

February 12, 2018 1:03 am

For those of us who love to hit the slopes, winter is the most exciting time of year. But with winter sports often involving high speeds and cold temperatures, it's no wonder they're some of the most dangerous activities around. Below are some tips for staying safe, from the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.

Ski and snowboard boots must fit properly. When tightly fastened, your boots should be free of pressure points that might cause blisters. Ankles and heels should remain securely in place.

All boots should be snug but not overly tight. Boots that are too tight can decrease blood flow and make cold-weather injuries such as frostbite more likely. But a common mistake is to buy a boot that's too large and allows the foot to shimmy. A snug boot will allow you to wiggle your toes, but too much wiggle means the boot is too large.

Make sure footwear provides warmth, and wear socks that are breathable and moisture-wicking so your feet will stay dry. Keeping feet and toes warm and dry is critical when you're on the slopes for long periods.

If you're buying your first pair of ski or snowboard boots, consult a boot fitter at your local sporting goods store.These professionals will help you find the proper fit for your sport.

Source: American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society

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Could 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates Hit 5 Percent?

February 9, 2018 1:00 am

A growing number of experts are predicting the protracted period of historically low mortgage rates may be drawing to an end in 2018.

Tim Lucas at themortgagereports.com reported that as 2018 arrived, mortgage rates hit their 26th week holding below 4 percent - but within two weeks, the average 30-year rate nationwide escalated to 4.15 percent.

He showed all the following sources predicting higher rates for 2018:
- Mortgage Bankers Association: 4.6 percent
- Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac: 4.5 percent
- Realtor.com: 4.6 percent average, reaching  percent by year-end
- National Association of Realtors: 4.5 percent
- Kiplinger: 4.4 percent
- National Association of Home Builders: 4.34 percent

At bankrate.com, Natalie Campisi pointed out that mortgage rates inched up every week during January. She said the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose 11 basis points to 4.38 percent - the highest point since last March.

The folks at NerdWallet.com reported that real estate industry data provider CoreLogic averaged six forecasts of mortgage rates, arriving at a consensus that the 30-year fixed will average 4.7 percent by December 2018.

Nerdwallet.com says interest rates are notoriously resistant to prediction, though, harkening back to the beginning of 2017 when most expected mortgage rates to rise steadily for months, but they only rose for a few weeks.

The average 30-year fixed peaked at 4.58 percent last March before it reversed, dipping slightly to 4 percent a few times in the summer, before ticking upward slightly in the fall.

Trendwatchers at freddiemac.com say if their economic growth and inflation forecasts hold, then the The Federal Open Market Committee or FOMC will likely raise rates three to four times in 2018. However, freddiemac.com predicts those anticipated rate increases will be gradual, allowing housing market activity to maintain momentum.

While Freddie Mac's baseline forecast is sanguine about the path of the U.S. economy and housing markets today, its experts are watching three factors closely: whether another recession is looming; if housing markets respond to declining affordability; and whether young adults will step up moving into the housing market.
We'll also be watching these factors - stay tuned.

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Four Mistakes That Could Make Your Cruise Travel Insurance Worthless

February 9, 2018 1:00 am

Heading out on a cruise this year? How exciting! Booked travel insurance just in case? Good on you! However, it's important to pay mind to the fine print of your travel insurance so you don't end up with a void claim. Squaremouth offers the following insights:

Mistake No. 1: Waiting Until There's Bad Weather to Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance only covers unexpected situations; once a hurricane or winter storm has been given a name, it's too late for travel insurance.

Expert Tip: While travel insurance can be bought up until the day before you leave for your trip, make sure to get your policy early if you're worried about future weather issues, before a hurricane or winter storm is named.

Mistake No. 2: Drinking Alcohol and Assuming Your Medical Emergencies are Covered
Travel insurance can cover expensive cruise ship medical costs unless the traveler is intoxicated. This is a common exclusion in most policies.

Expert Tip: Travel insurance providers will not always know if travelers were drinking alcohol at the time of an injury or illness, however, providers will require documentation during the claims process, such as medical records or a police report.

Mistake No. 3: Assuming Your Medical Emergencies are Covered During All Shore Excursions
Travel insurance covers medical emergencies whether travelers are on the cruise ship or on land, including shore excursions. Some travelers may be aware that there are exclusions on dangerous activities such as bungee jumping or skydiving, but many travelers may not realize that a policy may exclude lower impact activities like kayaking or riding in a hot air balloon.

Expert Tip: Look at the policy detail for each shore excursion you plan to participate in while on your cruise before you buy the policy. If the policy excludes the activity, choose another policy or consider getting the Hazardous Sports upgrade.

Mistake No. 4: Arriving to Your Port of Departure Early and Assuming You're Covered
Travelers may want to spend a few days at their Port of Departure before their cruise begins. Many travelers may assume they only need to get a policy for their cruise, but travel insurance is designed to cover travelers from doorstep to doorstep and does not allow coverage for only a portion of a trip.

Expert Tip: Make sure to enter the date that you leave your home and the date you return home when getting a travel insurance quote. If your travel dates change, you can call your provider and have them update your travel dates. This modification to your policy can be made up until the day before you leave for your trip.

Consider a 'Catch-All' Coverage
If the possibility of cancelling a vacation is the traveler's top concern, the only way to be sure they'll get a portion of their money back is with the upgraded Cancel For Any Reason coverage. This upgrade refunds travelers 75 percent of their costs if they cancel for a reason not listed in their policy, as long as they insure all of their trip costs and cancel at least two days before they're scheduled to leave.

Source: Squaremouth

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Which Building and Design Trends Will Impact Your Home in 2018?

February 8, 2018 12:57 am

The International Builders' Show (IBS), held January 9 - 11 in Orlando, Fla. during national Design & Construction Week, is a meeting of minds for building and design trends. This year, the folks at liveabode.com were quick to blog about the cultural shift they saw toward mindfulness and creating a home sanctuary - especially evident in bathroom designs as well as outdoor living spaces.

Managing editor Kriss Swint noted the increasing prevalence of blues and greens being used in these spaces create a feeling of calm, serenity and escape.

Liveabode.com also pointed out the continuing expansion of Scandinavian design influence - sleek, simple and clean lines built on the principles of affordability, simplicity, and functionality that Swint and company expect will continue to dominate every facet of interior and exterior design in 2018.

Rexy Legaspi at theplancollection.com observed that major strides in technology like smart locks and smart vent hoods were a few of the tools that were unveiled at IBS 2018. Legaspi also said “personal assistant” technology like Siri and Alexa are expected to evolve to even more advanced and sophisticated functionality.

Legaspi said multi-generational homes and aging-in-place designs are expected to increase in popularity in 2018. He learned about one 5,188-square-foot, seven-bedroom reNEWable Living Home in Arizona that incorporates an urban-inspired loft for a young adult, a first-floor in-law suite, a tech-savvy space for a teenager, and an amazing master suite that overlooks the home’s pool.

In that model home, shared social spaces include a Great Room, kitchen, outdoor living space, a game room, and pool area. The home’s two-story floor plan allows family members their desired private space/retreats and at the same time provides comfortable, homey areas where they can relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Besides widespread European influences, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) noticed many more exhibitors promoting hurricane impact products this year, along with large multi-slide doors that are offering even more colors and directing more emphasis to outdoor living spaces.

Stay tuned for more evolving information on design trends.

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5 Ways to Ward off Winter Illness

February 8, 2018 12:57 am

Think you can't outrun that cold that's going around? Think again! Here are five ways to ward off winter illness and keep you smiling until spring.

Eat fresh. Don't let the cool weather turn you towards junk food. Continue choosing fresh produce and healthy eats to keep your body happy. Avoid eating to many processed foods, sugar and alcohol, all of which can wear down your system and make you prone to catching that office flu.

Pop a supplement. Taking a supplement to ward off colds can really help. Talk to your doctor about what's best, but health aids with zinc and vitamin C tend to help.

Stay active. It's understandable that cold months make you want to hibernate, but being physically active keeps your immune system humming. If you don't mind the snowy weather, pick up a winter sport like snowing, ski boarding or simply walking outdoors when conditions are safe. Not a fan of frost? Join a gym or a hot yoga studio.

Rest more. It's natural to need more rest in the winter as our circadian rhythm adjusts. Allow yourself to hit snooze and, if you can, tuck into bed an hour earlier.

Wash your hands. Your mother was right when she reminded you to wash, wash, wash your hands. At work and out in public, take a break every once and a while to suds up your hands, and try as hard as you can to keep them away from your face and avoid finger foods unless you've just washed.

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