RE/MAX 440
Bill and Rachel Burke

Bill and Rachel Burke
701 W. Market Street  Perkasie  PA 18944
Phone:  215-453-7653
Office:  215-453-7653
Fax:  267-354-6810

My Blog

Homeowners Spend Less, Renters Spend More

December 3, 2017 1:42 pm

Incomes are not keeping pace with rents. More earnings are needed for rent than in years past—now 29.1 percent of the median monthly income, versus the 25.8 percent needed prior to the recession, according to an analysis recently released by Zillow. The difference equals $1,957 more than if the share had stayed the same. Homeowners, […]

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When Data Makes the Difference

December 3, 2017 1:42 pm

How HouseCanary Is Giving Agents a Competitive Edge Editor’s Note: The following is the cover story in the December issue of RISMedia’s real estate magazine. It’s no secret: The value of the real estate agent is under attack. With a slew of disruptors determined to diminish their role in the real estate transaction, it’s become […]

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Mortgage Rates Inch Lower

December 2, 2017 1:42 am

Mortgage rates moved lower this week, with the 30-year, fixed rate averaging 3.90 percent, a decrease from 3.92 percent the week prior, according to Freddie Mac’s recently released Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®). The 15-year, fixed rate averaged 3.30 percent, down from 3.32 percent the week prior, while the five-year, Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate averaged […]

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Great Spaces: Boutique Residential Development in South Kensington, London

December 2, 2017 1:42 am

A new development is being launched in South Kensington, London, encompassing 11 uniquely appointed apartments and a single townhouse residence. The Arts House in Southwell Gardens, located in the cultural heartland of London, has a selection of one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts available. Exquisite marble-topped counters with spacious living areas are some of the premier […]

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Maximum Loan Limits Increase on Fannie, Freddie Mortgages

December 2, 2017 1:42 am

The maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will increase to $453,100 for most markets in 2018, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently announced. The increase in the baseline loan limit, mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA), is in response to rising values. The maximum […]

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ICYMI: Demand/Supply Dynamics Keep Prices Tracking Up

December 2, 2017 1:42 am

Home prices tracked up in the latest S&P CoreLogic/Case-Shiller Indices, up 6.2 percent year-over-year in September, compared to 5.9 percent in August. Conditions as they are are prompting the rise. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index’s 10-City Composite rose 5.7 percent year-over-year, up from 5.2 percent in August, while its 20-City […]

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A Compelling Formula for Success: Assist2Sell

December 2, 2017 1:42 am

A Unique Advantage to the Real Estate Landscape When it comes to companies offering a discount model, there is plenty of competition. Brokers and agents have long understood that sellers want to pay lower commission rates. But they also want full service, notes Ryan Elliott, vice president of Assist2Sell, and that’s his company’s premier distinction. […]

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Holiday Shopping? How-To Find the Best Deals

December 1, 2017 1:42 am

'Tis the season for holiday shopping, and there are plenty of ways to get the best possible price on the items you want after Black Friday.

Kiplinger’s Magazine editors suggest favorite websites for finding and price-comparing merchandise, all with free mobile apps you can use when you’re out and about.

For scoring deals:

- Dealnews.com has a team of deal hunters who scan prices on thousands of items at more than 2,000 reputable online retailers multiple times each day. You can even get shopping advice from the site’s guides and sign up for mail alerts for the products you want to purchase.

- Ben’sBargains.com also tracks about 2,000 retailers and publishes about 200 good deals daily including price history. You can choose your store and/or product and sign up for alerts, and check the site’s ‘Top Offers’ gallery.

- Bradsdeals.com is easy to navigate to find best sale prices, coupons, rebates and store rewards at nearly 4,000 retailers. You can sign up to get email deal alerts on your chosen items as frequently as you like.

- Offers.com features deals from about 6,000 companies and stores, updated daily and organized into categories like clothing, electronics, toys and travel. You can search by store and brand, and find local deals in more than 75 cities.

- Slickdeals.net and Gottadeal.com both feature deals on their home pages, and also forums you can scan to find hundreds of deals posted daily.

For comparing prices:

- Both Pricegrabber.com and GoogleShopping can help you find the lowest price on a given product. When you search an item, you get a list of the retailers offering price, shipping cost, ratings and seller information.

- FreePriceAlerts.com gives you instant price comparisons with browser add-ons. If you register, you can set target prices on the items you want and get alerts when/if the price falls to that amount.

For finding cyber-coupons:

- RetailMeNot.com provides about 5,000 coupon code offers for over 50,000 retailers and brands. If you let it track your location, it will provide best offers at nearby stores and restaurants.

- CouponSherpa.com provides a wide selection of printable coupons and online promo codes.- Rather-be-shopping.com provides coupon codes for just 800 retailers, but will try to hunt down a coupon for a store you can’t find on their site and get it to you within 24 hours.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Money That Can Be Better Spent on a Down Payment

December 1, 2017 1:42 am

One of the biggest obstacles for first-time homebuyers is saving for a down payment - it’s a nut that seems insurmountable to many. The first mistake new homebuyers make is believing that they must have 20 percent to put down on a home, when (depending on your credit and the loan terms) you can usually put down much less.

The second mistake is believing you’ll never be able to save enough money. Here are 10 things you can stop spending money on right now. Collect what you would have spent on these items at the end of the week and put it into a savings account for your home-to-be. It will add up faster than you think!

Books. Get your library card renewed or (gasp!) get one for the first time, and start reading books for free.

Coffee. Treat yourself to a nice travel mug then fill up at home and skip the pricey coffee shop on the way to work.

Gas. Of course, this isn’t always possible, but when you can, opt to walk or ride your bike instead of hopping in the car. Carpooling is another great option.

Lunch. Not only is brown bagging it cheaper, it’s usually much healthier as well. Just be sure not to eat at your desk. Hit up the break room or a local park (bring your library book!).

Designer clothes. If you’re a style hound, don’t despair. Instead of shopping in pricey stores, check out your local outlet mall, online tag sales or high-end thrift shops. You’ll be surprised at what you can find.

Restaurants. If going out to dinner is one of your favorite social activities, don’t give up the act of dining with friends, just do it at home instead. Host a backyard cookout or an intimate dinner party with candles and fine china. Or, save money and time and make it a potluck affair.

Bottled water. Get yourself a filtered pitcher and a portable container and stop the bottled water insanity. Your wallet and the environment will thank you.

Expensive gifts. Believe it or not, it really is the thought that counts. Instead of wasting money on gifts that may or may not be used by the recipient, go the homemade route. Try baked goods, a photo collage, a collection of flowers from your garden tied in a pretty ribbon, or a home-cooked meal.

All those cable channels. Take a good look at your cable bill and decide whether or not you really need all those channels you’re paying for.

Your gym membership. If you’re not using your gym membership regularly, let it go. Stay healthy with online workouts you can do at home and venture into the great outdoors for walking, hiking and running or your favorite sports.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Holiday Hospitality Tips to Ease Seasonal Stress

December 1, 2017 1:42 am

Is everyone headed to your home for the holidays? While this can be fun, it can also be a headache, especially for the host.

Consider the following tips from hospitality pro Katie Davin, an associate professor in the College of Hospitality Management at Johnson & Wales University.

Skip the couch. Are you sure everybody wants to stay at your house? Uncle Ralph might be too cheap to pay for a hotel, but cousins Sue and Jeff might think that they would hurt your feelings by suggesting it. Some relatives might prefer to have their own space. Research local hotels for good rates. If you are not in a city or a tourist destination, your nearby hotels may not sell out during the major holidays and therefore, offer great rates that could include breakfast and WiFi. Try an online travel agency (OTA) such as Travelocity to see what's out there. For any last minute lodging needs, guide those guests to the Hotel Tonight app.

Wheels. Encourage independence – if most of your guests are flying in, try to encourage at least one of them to rent a car so they are not completely dependent on you and your vehicle. Then they can get out and enjoy the town, shop, or help you with errands. Check your favorite website for car rentals, or try a site that searches for deals for you, such as Kayak.

Fun. Sometimes when we have lived somewhere for a long time, we forget all the fun things there are to do in our town. Find out what is happening nearby – there could be holiday markets, light shows, ice-skating, hiking trails, or other local flavored activities, and your guests might love to get out of the house and do something festive. Check your city's or region's tourism website or Convention & Visitors Bureau to see what's going on. Type your city name and "tourism" or "CVB" into your favorite search engine.

Food. If you anticipate having guests for all three meals, keep breakfast and lunch simple, especially on the days surrounding the holiday. For breakfast, most of your guests will be quite satisfied with good coffee, fruit, yogurt, and toast or pastries from the local bakery. They can help themselves and nobody feels as if they must be at the table at a certain time. If you want to provide something hot, prepare a simple egg dish you can chill the night before and place in the oven when you wake up.

For lunch, have cold cuts, breads, and condiments available. Better yet, send them out to lunch. Tell them you have some "work" to catch up on, and while they're gone, you can chill and enjoy the quiet.

The help-yourself format for breakfast and lunch can lead to crowds of people in your kitchen. Limit the perishable food availability to an hour when you have the biggest crowd. Then return it to the fridge, so the stragglers can help themselves at their convenience. Also, place the cold drinks in coolers outside – back deck, garage, balcony, whatever keeps people from opening and closing your fridge all day. Just watch the temperature if you are in a really cold climate during a cold snap to prevent the bottles and cans from freezing.

Make dinner the star, when the whole gang gets together. When people offer to help (and they will), let them. Have some easy jobs ready to delegate. Almost anyone can peel potatoes, set the table, wash some pots, or stir the sauce. If you have a family member with skills, delegate the hard jobs. If nobody offers to help, ask. Sometimes they want to assist, but don't want to interfere or hover. Alleviate their angst, and minimize your own. Ask.

Breaking the News. After you have compiled your information, you need to communicate it to your guests. If possible, call everyone individually and explain the lodging options, so there's less chance of hurt feelings. For a bigger crowd, put it all together in an email but be diplomatic and hospitable. You don't want your email going viral because it is so bossy and inhospitable. Begin your letter with a sincere message about how excited you are to be hosting the family and/or friends for the holiday. Then get right to it and explain your rationale, in a casual and positive way, such as, "We have a few spare beds if you would like to stay with us, but for those of you who would like to have your own space, several hotels and inns right in town have special rates…."

Happy Holidays. One of the best ways to make your guests feel welcome is for you to enjoy yourself. Guests can feel like a burden if they see that you are stressed-out and trying to do it all yourself. Accept their help, encourage them to venture out of the house, and don't expect perfection from you or them. You will all have a better time and fond memories.

Source: Johnson and Wales University

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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