RE/MAX 440
Peter Patkos
1110 North Broad Street
Lansdale  PA 19446
 Phone: 215-327-7491
Office Phone: 215-362-2260
Fax: 267-354-6879 
peterpatkos@remax440.com
Peter Patkos

My Blog

Seven Things It Pays to Spend More For

June 26, 2014 1:15 am

These days, when every penny counts, it’s tempting to try to save a few bucks when you shop for the things you need. But, said financial services expert Kristen Frost, author of The Frugal Girl, there are some times when being cheap costs you more in the end.

“Paying more for an item that will last longer makes better financial sense,” she said.

Cross suggests you buy the best you can afford when shopping for these items:

Kitchen tools – Cheaply made kitchen tools tend to warp, dull, and stop performing well far sooner than quality tools.

Furniture
– Unlike the cheap stuff, which is frequently made of particle board, good furniture will last a lifetime and can always be refinished. If you can’t afford new, look for good used furniture at garage sales or on Craig’s List.

Paint – Cheap paint may seem like a bargain, but it isn’t if it takes two or three coats to cover well.

Classic clothing pieces – Cheap is fine for trendy pieces, but buy quality pieces to stay in style and get years of use from your blazer, tuxedo, basic black dress or jacket.

Shoes – Because we spend so much time on our feet, we really should make ourselves comfy. Besides, more expensive shoes tend to last longer and provide better support for the arch and heel to keep your feet healthy.

Bed sheets – We spend a lot of time in bed, too, and good quality sheets provide a better feel and more comfort in every season. Basically, a higher thread count means a better sheet, but a thread count in the middle range is often all you need.

Toys – Simple but sturdy toys, like wooden blocks and Legos, cost more than their cheap counterparts. But children tend to be hard on their playthings, so buy quality toys that will provide imaginative play for many years.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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New Study Shows Homeowners Prefer a Home Protected With Fire Sprinklers

June 25, 2014 1:03 am

In a new national Harris Poll survey conducted on behalf of the nonprofit Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC), 74 percent of U.S. homeowners said they would be more likely to buy a home with fire sprinklers than one without. Seven in 10 said a sprinklered house has more value and nearly 8 in 10 (78 percent) said fire sprinklers provide the ultimate protection for residents.

New home construction across the country incorporates this feature, but homeowners of lived-in properties are also interested in a sprinklered home. Nearly 70 percent had their interest boosted when they learned smoke cannot set off a fire sprinkler. Additionally, nearly half say they have more confidence in homebuilders who offer sprinklers than those who do not.

The common myth that all fire sprinklers spray water at once when a fire breaks out remains a roadblock to homeowner interest. While new- construction owners often receive information about home safety features from their builder, collaboration with local officials and fire services is needed to educate all homeowners.

Source: HFSC

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Top 5 World's Best Places to Visit

June 25, 2014 1:03 am

Just in time for summer vacation, U.S. News & World Report recenty released its annual rankings of the World's Best Places to Visit. The new list features 25 of the most recommended vacation destinations by travel experts and consumers. Here are the World’s Top 5, plus Top 3 by region:

2014-15 Top 5 World's Best Places to Visit:

1. Paris
2. London
3. Barcelona
4. Maui
5. New York City

To view the remaining top 20, click here.

2014-15 Top 3 Best Places to Visit in the USA:

1. Maui
2. Yellowstone
3. Washington, D.C.

2014-15 Top 3 Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean:

1. U.S. Virgin Islands
2. Cayman Islands
3. St. Kitts & Nevis

2014-15 Top 3 Best Places to Visit in Europe:

1. Rome
2. Paris
3. Barcelona

Source: U.S. News and World Report

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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From Bears to Bugs: 10 Camping Safety Tips

June 25, 2014 1:03 am

Summer is here and camping is a great way for families, friends and the adventurous to get outdoors and enjoy the summer heat. From hiking, to swimming, to sitting around the campfire, camping should be enjoyed to the fullest.

These 10 summer camping tips will ensure you get the most out of your trip and stay safe this summer.

1. Water Safety
Many water-related accidents are preventable. Always wear a properly sized and fitted life jacket when boating; know your abilities as a swimmer and don't venture beyond your comfort level; use the buddy system; be aware of currents and learn what to do if caught in one; and always supervise children, even in very shallow water.

2. Protect Yourself from the Sun
With summer comes hot, hot heat! Sunburns can be incredibly painful and very serious. Don't forget to wear hats, sunglasses and apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply often; make sure to use waterproof sunscreen if you plan to go in the water, but remember, it only lasts about 90 minutes when in water.

3. Keep Cool and Stay Hydrated

With summer heat, it's also extremely important to keep cool and hydrated to avoid heat exhaustion or stroke. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and pack extra water bottles in a cooler with lots of ice to keep them cold. Find a shady place to rest if you are getting too hot. Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion; excessive thirst, nausea, fainting, cool and clammy skin, weakness, muscle aches, heavy sweating, slow heartbeat and dizziness.

4. Avoiding Bears and Other Wildlife
Food attracts a variety of critters, so raccoons, skunks and even bears could make an appearance during your trip. Never store scented products or food in your tent; instead, lock it in your car, put it in a separate tent or string it up in a tree if you are camping in the bush. Don't leave garbage out in the open, store food in airtight containers and clean up immediately after eating - otherwise you may have some unwelcome visitors.

5. Transporting Food
Keeping perishable foods at the appropriate temperature is vital to avoiding illness. Eat fresh foods first and pack them in a cooler using plenty of ice to keep food from spoiling.

6. Build Campfires Responsibly
Check the official campground website beforehand to determine fire regulations. Use a fire pit if one is available, never leave the fire unattended and remember to fully extinguish it when you are done. If a fire pit is not available, create one well away from tent walls, plants, trees and other flammable objects.

7. Getting Lost - and Found!
Always tell someone where you are going. Have a set plan with a pre-determined meeting place if you get separated. Packing a whistle, cell phone and compass or GPS are always a good idea. Know what to do when you get lost and you'll always be found. Adventuresmart.ca is a great resource for information on how to stay safe outdoors.

8. Protect Against Insects
Prime mosquito-biting hours are usually from dusk to dawn, but ticks are out at all times, so become familiar with insect and tick repellent and apply regularly.

9. Prepare for the Weather
Check the weather forecast before you pack. Weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to pack for a range of temperatures and rain.

10. Bring the Right Gear
Plan in advance and bring only certified essentials — you don't want to be lugging around unnecessary equipment or faulty gear. Don't forget to pack: a pocketknife, first aid kit, extra clothing, water bottle, flashlight, extra trail food and matches and fire starters.

Whether you're a first-time camper or experienced explorer, remember to leave no trace that you were ever there so that the natural world will be there to appreciate for many years to come.

Stay safe, alert and aware - happy camping!

Source: Scouts Canada

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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7 Ways to Keep Headaches at Bay This Summer

June 24, 2014 12:51 am

During the summer, there is an increased chance of exposure to the triggers and other precipitating factors of headache. Vacations, air travel, the beach, picnics, and partying are not always fun times – especially if you are laid low with a migraine or other headache. The National Headache Foundation offers these helpful tips on avoiding these summer spoilers:

1. The sun can be especially bothersome if you have migraine. Looking directly or indirectly at the sun can trigger a migraine attack. Don't forget your shades – sunglasses, visors, or sun hat when you are out and enjoying the sunshine at the beach, tennis court, golf course, or a baseball game.

2. Changes in barometric pressure are well-known headache triggers. Watch out for those sudden thunderstorms and windy days – even in July.

3. Watch your fluids when you are at the beach or some other outdoor activity. Drinking plenty of water – not soda – will help prevent those "dehydration" headaches. You don't want to drink too many soft drinks containing caffeine, which can also contribute to your headaches.

4. Backyard barbecues and picnics may provide you with food items that you wouldn't normally eat. The sauces and dry rubs on those tasty ribs may contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) to which many headache sufferers are sensitive. The spread at a picnic may include aged cheeses, hot dogs and other meats with nitrates, and pickles – all items found on headache diets. And let's not forget the beer and cocktails served at those summer parties – watch your intake!

5. You've invited 50 friends to your July 4th celebration – and the stress is getting to you. Plan ahead and be organized – you don't want to spend the day of or the day after, in a dark, quiet room as you try to get rid of that migraine.

6. The joy of a long weekend or vacation can be quickly ruined by a headache. Try to stay on your normal sleep schedule. Oversleeping, not getting adequate sleep, or missing a meal can all contribute to a headache.

7. Everyone says "travel is no longer fun." Traveling by plane is particularly stressful. Who can tolerate the airport inconveniences, the long delays, and the lack of food service on these flights? Purchasing a healthy snack and a bottle of water prior to boarding may help you avoid a travel headache. Try to avoid alcoholic beverages before and during your flight – those cocktails will dehydrate you. Also, the oxygen on planes, although the cabins are pressurized, is never at normal levels. If you are burdened by "altitude headaches," your physician may offer some remedies to help prevent the headaches associated with air travel.

Source: National Headache Foundation

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Extend Your Home's Square Footage with an Outdoor Living Room

June 24, 2014 12:51 am

(Family Features) The arrival of summer, along with its sunny skies and beautiful weather, beckons homeowners to create a space to entertain guests and enjoy the great outdoors. Design an outdoor living room that merges style and function, and incorporates elements of indoor comfort.

Arrange away
Treat your outdoor area as you would your living room. If space is limited, use sectionals to create seating in whatever arrangement fits best. Finish the look by layering your favorite accessories, such as handcrafted trays, detailed lanterns and a colorful floral arrangement to create a cheerful centerpiece.

Tie it all together
To let you in on a little secret — outdoor rugs tie everything together and really bring a space to life. Simply layer a rug with a beautiful seating collection, colorful cushions and pillows, and you’ve got an outdoor area that makes everyone comfortable and happy.

Embrace the bold
Some might be afraid to create a statement outside because — it’s outside. But an outdoor living space lends itself to adventures with color and pattern, providing the opportunity to be bold and to go beyond your comfort zone. When shopping for the outdoors, remember — anything goes.

Serve in style
Al fresco entertaining always focuses on food, drinks and friends. A self-service food station or bar enhances the casual tone, freeing guests to grab refreshments whenever they please. This also allows you, the host, to focus on the fun at hand. Look for serving and drink carts that maximize space.

Source: Pier 1 Imports

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5 Tips for a Graceful Social Media Exit

June 23, 2014 12:39 am

An active social media presence should be a core component of your organization's marketing strategy, but it’s important to recognize that not every social channel will be the right fit for your messages. If you’ve noticed stagnant activity on a particular social media channel in spite of your efforts to spur engagement, it might be because your audience is no longer present there. Reallocate your time and resources by making a graceful social exit using the following tips:

Do periodic reviews to evaluate the effectiveness of your social channels.
If you’ve been actively engaged for a while and you haven’t seen any return on your investment of time, you have two options: 1) invest more time in uncovering different strategies until you find something that sticks or 2) move on to a more appropriate social space that resonates better with your audience.

Thank them for their participation.
Whether you’re deleting your account or just leaving a bit of forwarding information, it’s still good to thank everyone who participated in discussions, sharing, or viewing of any of your posts. This shows that you appreciate the time and effort they put into you and your presence.

Let them know you’re leaving, and let them know why.
Announce on the social network that you’ll be exiting, that way any faithful friends or followers who would have wanted to engage with you will know why you’re suddenly silent. Be honest and sincere.

Leave a forwarding address or social channel.
Tell them how to find you. Let them know where you’ll be moving to, and how they can interact and engage with you in the next social space.

Set a firm date for exiting the account, and stick to it.
Put up a goodbye post, or leave a link to the next place. Take whatever strategy that feels right for you. Leave your post up for a sufficient amount of time and then remember to download any data you may need and actually go in at some point to close down the account so that you don’t miss any possible connections in the future.

Source: PR Toolkit

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Trip to the Farmer's Market

June 23, 2014 12:39 am

(BPT) - This time of year is about warm weather, vacations and relaxing afternoons. It also heralds the return of farmer’s markets. A trip to the market is a great opportunity to indulge in fresh, healthy produce and to expand your horizons by trying new items or preparing them in different ways.

Here are seven tips to make the most of your visit to the local farmer’s market:

• Note the hours and dates of your local market on your calendar. Set reminders on your smartphone that will alert you when favorite items such as tomatoes, peas, beans and strawberries come into season.

• Prepare your refrigerator and kitchen for the season's harvest. Clean out your fridge's produce drawer, and stock up on items that complement fresh produce, such as salad dressings and seasonings that can be used to turn basic veggies into delicious meals.

• While farmer’s market vendors will almost certainly have plastic bags on hand, take your own reusable bags or baskets to carry your purchase - they're better for Mother Nature. If you'll be buying perishable items, consider packing a cooler as well. Remember to place heavier items (like melons) on the bottom of the bag and lighter ones (such as berries) on top.

• You'll find the freshest produce and best selection early in the day. Setting your alarm to wake you a bit early could ensure you get the pick of the day's produce.

• Leave the $20 and $50 bills at home. Smaller bills will provide you with greater buying flexibility, and vendors will appreciate the change.

• Scope out the entire market before you begin making purchases. Certain popular items, such as tomatoes, cantaloupe, melons, peas and potatoes will be available from multiple vendors. Strolling through the market first will allow you to compare prices and taste samples to ensure you're picking the best and most delicious buys for your family.

• Unpack bags as soon as you're home and store each item appropriately. Create a menu plan for the week that incorporates everything you've purchased to help ensure nothing goes to waste. Don't forget to incorporate snacks into your meal plan.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Are You Part of the Nonemployer Explosion?

June 23, 2014 12:39 am

I have been writing about home offices for some time—and for good reason. It appears that more people than ever are taking work home.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently announced that the number of businesses without paid employees in the U.S. reached 22.7 million in 2012, up 1.1 percent from 2011. That is one million more of these home-based ventures since 2009.

This marks the third straight annual increase in nonemployer businesses, which are businesses with no paid employees, annual business receipts of $1,000 or more ($1 or more in the construction sector) and are subject to federal income taxes.

William Bostic Jr., the associate director for economic programs at the Census Bureau observed in an agency release that nonemployer businesses represent entrepreneurship in perhaps its purest form, including the classic 'mom and pop' shops and people running businesses out of their homes.

This includes 19.6 million sole proprietorships, 1.4 million corporations and 1.7 million partnerships, which account for the total number of nonemployer businesses.

So if someone was interested in making their home more marketable to sell, what areas of the country are most likely to draw folks looking to establish a home based business?

The Census Bureau says Florida had the largest increase in nonemployer businesses, with 57,978 added in 2012. California (39,051), Texas (38,504) and New York (15,207) had the next highest increases.

California remains in the lead, however, with the largest number of nonemployer businesses - 2.9 million.

And if you think home based businesses are not huge contributors to the economy, think again. The Census report states that the total annual receipts for nonemployer businesses were $1 trillion in 2012, an increase of $41.3 billion from the year before.

Considering that the rate of home based business operations is showing no sign of weakening, we will continue to focus on various aspects of establishing, designing and effectively utilizing space where homeowners can work while enjoying the shortest commute possible!

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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4 Medication Safety Tips for Older Adults

June 20, 2014 6:06 am

Whether you’re settling into your 60s or heading into your ninth decade, you should be extra careful when taking prescription and over-the-counter medicines. And if you’re caring for older loved ones, you should help them stay safe. The older you get, the more likely you are to be prescribed to additional medicines, which can increase the chance of harmful drug interactions.

Avoid these risks by following these FDA medication guidelines:

1. Take medicine as prescribed. Take your medicine regularly and according to your healthcare provider’s instructions. Don’t skip doses or stop taking medication without first consulting with your provider. (This holds true even if you’re feeling better or if you think the medicine isn’t working.) If you’re having bothersome side effects or have other questions, talk to your healthcare provider.

2. Keep a medication list. Write down what you’re taking and keep the list with you. Consider giving a copy to a friend or loved one that you trust—an important step especially in the event of an emergency and when you’re traveling.

Record the medicine’s brand name, if applicable, and generic name. Also write down how often and what dosage you take. (For instance, one pill daily, 300 mg.) Finally, note when you take each.

3. Be aware of potential interactions. Interactions can occur when:

• One drug affects how another drug works;
• A medical condition you have makes a certain drug potentially harmful;
• A food or non-alcoholic drink reacts with a drug;
• A medicine interacts with an alcoholic drink.

Learn which interactions are possible by carefully reading the drug facts label on over-the-counter drugs and the information that comes with your prescription medications, and by reviewing any special instructions with your healthcare provider. For instance, some medications should not be taken with alcohol, as symptoms such as loss of coordination and memory loss can occur.

If you’re seeing multiple healthcare providers, tell each one about all of your medications and supplements. You can also ask your pharmacist about potential interactions.

4. Review medications with your healthcare provider. Schedule at least one annual review of your medications with your healthcare provider to confirm which medications are still necessary and which you can stop taking (if any). If a certain medication seems out of your budget, ask your healthcare provider whether there is a cheaper, and still effective, alternative. This review can help you avoid potential interactions and can even lessen costs.

Source: FDA.gov

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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