This student was ashamed of her Republican father, until he said this


A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and was very much in favor of the redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, “How is your friend Audrey doing?” She replied, “Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She’s always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.”

Her wise father asked his daughter, “Why don’t you go to the Dean’s office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.”

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, “That wouldn’t be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!”

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, “Welcome to the Republican party.”

It’s as simple as that.

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Staging Tips for Selling During the Holidays

Staging Tips for Selling During the Holidays

Before you deck the halls, see which holiday decor can help you sell.

The less-is-more mantra of home staging may tempt you to forgo holiday cheer this year. But a few subtle touches like a pinecone centerpiece, an evergreen wreath or a pot of cider simmering on the stove can create a warm and festive feeling in your home. Avoid overtly religious flourishes, which may be off-putting to some buyers.

It’s the time of year that calendars are packed with holiday parties, budgets are strained by gift-giving and the roads are covered in freshly fallen snow. Alas, ’tis not the season for real estate. But the good news is that the few brave house-hunters who do venture out are serious about buying a house and stylish trimmings will make them want to ring in the new year in your home.“Try these tips to get buyers in the right spirit:

  • Clean and stage. “Before you decorate, your house needs to be staged,” Powers says. If your living room is already piled high with clutter and tchotchkes, your ceramic reindeer collection is only going to add to the sense of overcrowding.
  • Create a cozy vibe. The less-is-more mantra of home staging may tempt you to forgo holiday cheer this year. But a few subtle touches like a bowl of pinecones, an evergreen wreath, or a pot of cider simmering on the stove can create a warm and festive feeling in your home.
  • Complement your palette. Before you start untangling your tinsel, make sure your holiday collection matches your current decor. If your living room is painted a soothing ocean-blue hue, skip the clashing red garland and opt for white snowflakes or a silver glass-ball wreath. If you’ve got an earthy color scheme, accent with rich tones like cranberries, forest greens and gold.
  • Accentuate the positive. Too many trimmings may distract buyers, but the right accessories can draw attention to your home’s best features. Dangle mistletoe in an arched doorway, or display your menorah on the ledge of a bay window; just don’t block a beautiful view with stick-on snowflake decals or clutter an elegant fireplace with personalized stockings.
  • Go light on lights. Step away from the inflatable snowman, Clark Griswold. One man’s “merry” is another man’s “tacky,” so tone down any garish light displays while your home is on the market. (No, your neighbors didn’t pay us to say that.) Instead, use simple string lighting to play up your home’s architecture or draw attention to the gorgeous fir tree in your front yard.
  • Be an equal-opportunity decorator. Leave the life-sized Nativity scene in storage this year, because overtly religious flourishes may be off-putting to some buyers. “You want to keep neutrality throughout, so you can attract any type of buyer,” Powers says. Not sure what qualifies? Powers adds, “No matter what your religion is, you’re not going to feel offended by a nutcracker.”
  • Mind the tree. A tall Christmas tree can help you show off your two-story great room, but make sure the wide base won’t overwhelm the floor space. If your living area is on the small side, save space with a skinny tree. Swap the gaudy heirloom ornaments and trim your tree in a cohesive theme such as icicle lights and silver tinsel, for example, or blue and gold glass balls.
  • Clear the clutter. A few decorations can stir the holiday spirit, but don’t feel obliged to hang every last ornament. “A lot of people, when they decorate, tend to use all the extra space in their house,” Powers says. “You still want each space to look as spacious as possible.” Limit yourself to a few hints of holiday flair, but stash the rest in the basement for now. If you start to miss your Santa figurines, just remember that with a little luck, you’ll be celebrating next year’s holidays in a new home. And you can decorate that place any way you please.
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Realtors® Rate Exterior Replacement Projects Among Most Valuable Home Improvements

Eight of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally, in terms of value recouped, are exterior projects. A wood deck addition came in second with an estimated 87.4 percent of costs recouped upon resale. Two different siding replacement projects also landed in the top 10, including fiber-cement siding, expected to return 87 percent of costs, and vinyl siding, expected to return 78.2 percent of costs. Out of the top 10 projects, the fiber-cement siding replacement project improved the most since last year, with costs recouped increasing by more than 15 percent. Two garage door replacements were also in the top 10; a midrange garage door replacement is expected to return 83.7 percent while an upscale garage door replacement follows closely at 82.9 percent of costs recouped. Rounding out the top exterior remodeling projects were two window replacements; a wood window replacement is estimated to recoup 79.3 percent of costs and a vinyl window replacement is estimated to recoup 78.7 percent of costs.

According to the report, two interior remodeling projects in particular can recoup substantial value at resale. An attic bedroom is ranked fourth and is expected to return 84.3 percent of costs; nationally, the average cost for the project is just above $49,000. The second interior remodeling project in the top 10 is the minor kitchen remodel. The project landed at number seven and is estimated to recoup 82.7 percent of costs. Nationally, the average cost for the project is just under $19,000. The improvement project likely to return the least is the home office remodel, estimated to recoup 48.9 percent.

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The Most Undervalued Leadership Traits of Women

Interesting article about women in the workplace

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Is a TV Wall Mount a fixture?

Is a TV wall mount a fixture?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

By James L. Goldsmith, Esq.

160903390A quick trip to Google suggests that this question comes up all the time, though I am only starting to get Hotline calls on the subject. I looked to Google because I wanted to follow-up my answer, “It depends,” with the industry standard, if there was one.

What I found on the web made my head spin. Apparently there are lots of “experts” out there on all sides of the issue, some who conclude that even a TV becomes a fixture once it is bolted to a mount that is bolted to the wall!  What I found on the web also reminded me why web browsers are not the place to conduct legal research.

So, we are going to reach an answer to this “new” question by resorting to old principles of real estate law. And the most basic question to be answered on our quest is, what is real estate? (Stick with me, this will get us there.) Real estate is the land and anything annexed to the land with the intent that it is permanent. We call those permanent attachments “fixtures.” So a fixture is real estate that is sold with the land. Since a basic agreement of sale purports to convey “real estate,” it also serves to convey fixtures.

But we humans love exceptions. A buyer and seller, therefore, may agree that fixtures will not be sold with the rest of a property. But if the parties do agree that a fixture passes to the seller, so be it. Their agreement controls. As long as an item is addressed in the agreement of sale, it doesn’t matters whether the item otherwise considered a fixture or personalty.

So what about that TV mount? If the parties address it in the agreement of sale, the agreement controls its destiny.  Standard agreements usually include fixture clauses that cover the common items (lighting fixtures, plumbing, smoke detectors, garage door openers) and some more unusual ones say, radiator covers, electric animal fencing systems.  And while such clauses are modified to keep up with the times, they don’t catch everything (TV wall mounts). Years ago, the disputes were not over TV mounts but over TV antennas attached to chimneys which looked like those old-time things you hung wet laundry on.  There were as many fights over those old antennas as there are now about TV mounts.  And, yes, many Realtors® dug into their pockets to resolve those disputes, just as they do today.

Since the PAR standard agreement offers no help with regard to our TV mount, we have to apply basic real estate law to determine whether a TV mount is a fixture. Specifically, we need to determine whether the TV mount was attached to the wall with the intent that it be permanent. That, my friends, will lead to the answer.

But how does one prove intent? Ah ha! I just happen to have a video of the seller attaching the wall mount, clearly declaring his intent that it is not a permanent addition to the house, but one that will be removed when the seller leaves the property. Obviously that doesn’t exist, so how will intent be proved?

Intent is proved in courts of law every day. Intent is what distinguishes first-degree murder from other forms of homicide; it distinguishes an accident from an injustice. There is usually little direct evidence of intent and resort is made to circumstantial evidence. In our case, circumstantial evidence will include how the TV mount was attached to the wall.

It is hard to imagine a TV wall mount that can’t be removed, as can the lag bolts that attached it. A little spackle, sanding and paint will likely remove all trace that it existed. Other evidence may be whether the mounting system is proprietary to a specific TV or universal so that it will accept all TVs.

My inclination is to consider that a TV wall mount is personalty, assuming that it is relatively easily removed and the cover-up easily applied. Reasonable minds, however, may differ. A poll of the Hotline attorneys suggests that while I may be with the majority, there is indeed a difference of opinion (actually, I discontinued polling when I saw that I might lose).

The only thing I can say with complete confidence is that the best practice is to avoid these disputes altogether. Do so by adding a provision to the agreement of sale that clearly states whether TV wall mounts are included with the property or not.

So what is the next fixture/personalty controversy on the horizon? I am sure we will find out.

Source- PAR – Jim Goldmsith

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Renting a Home or Apartment : Lease and Security Deposits – from the Consumer’s Perspective

Renting a Home or Apartment: Leases and Security Deposits

Your choice of housing plays a significant role in your life and represents a major financial commitment. Understanding your rights as a consumer and a tenant will help you make informed decisions in selecting the right rental property for you. Keep these important tips in mind and don?t be afraid to exercise your rights as a tenant.

Consider the Following Before Renting:

Don?t pay for an ?apartment finder? service if the listings provided are simply vacancies taken from newspaper classifieds.

Look the properties over carefully and be sure to ask questions about any apartment or house you are considering renting. Consider the following:

Does the rent cover all utilities, or will you be responsible for paying for them yourself? If you will be paying for heat, water, or other utilities ask whether the landlord can provide an estimated monthly or annual cost for the rental property.

What kind of security does the building have? Are the doors, windows and entrances secured? Are the stairs safe and well lighted? Are the fire escapes easily accessible?

What sort of commute will you have to school or work and what is nearby in terms of restaurants, shopping, entertainment and other places you frequently visit? Also, what are the neighbors like (students, families, retirees) and is this the right setting for you?

Who is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of common areas (stairwells, hallways, etc.) and appliances, furnace filters and other items within the property which may need to be serviced?

Is the landlord or property management readily available during nights and weekends and what are the procedures for emergency services, repairs or lock-outs?

What kind of parking is available? Is there an extra charge for a parking spot?

Are storms windows, screens and shades provided?

The Rental Application

Your new landlord may ask you to provide credit references and a list of past landlords, addresses and your employment history, including salary.

An application fee may be charged and may be nonrefundable if you are not approved. At the landlord?s discretion, the application fee may be applied to your first month?s rent or security deposit, but it is not required by law.

The Lease

A lease is a contract which legally binds both parties to terms for a specified period of time. Breach of this contract by either party can result in serious legal and financial consequences. Be sure to carefully read over the lease or rental agreement and any list of rules that the landlord will expect you to follow.

Make Sure Your Lease Contains:

  • The specific address, including apartment number of the property.
  • The length of the lease.
  • An explanation of the rent payment procedure, including late penalties and rent increases.
  • Which utilities you are responsible for paying.
  • Termination or renewal terms.
  • The amount of any security deposit.


  • Don?t let anyone rush you into signing an agreement before you understand what it says and do not sign a lease until all blanks are filled in. Be sure to keep a copy of the lease for yourself. Make a second copy and keep it in a safety deposit box or with a friend or family member for safekeeping.
  • Watch out for clauses which provide for the automatic renewal for another full term equal to the original term. To avoid automatic renewal, make sure you give notice of your intention to vacate prior to expiration of the lease and in accordance with the lease?s terms.
  • Remember that if you are sharing the property you may be responsible for nonpayment, damages or breaches caused by any roommate or co-signer.
  • Inspect the premises prior to signing. If the property is furnished, check for any defects in the furniture. Make a check list of any damages to the property or its contents along with maintenance responsibilities and get the landlord?s signature on the list along with any changes or repairs. Make sure you keep a signed and dated copy.

Security Deposit

A security deposit is money which actually belongs to the tenant, but is held by the landlord for protection against damages or unpaid rent.

During the first year of a lease, the amount of a security deposit cannot exceed two months rent.

Beginning with the second year of a lease, a landlord cannot retain a security deposit of more than one month?s rent. Any security deposit greater than $100 held by a landlord must be placed in a bank in escrow.

The Landlord Tenant Act requires that interest be paid on security deposits held over two years.

After taking out damages and unpaid rent, a landlord or property owner must send its tenants the list of damages and/or the full or partial security deposit no later than 30 days after the lease ends or when the landlord accepts the tentants? keys to vacate the premises early, whichever occurs first. The law requires landlords to pay twice the amount of the security deposit if they fail to provide consumers with the list of damages along with any refund due.

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Are you PAR compliant?

Dear Agents, as a PA Licensee, it is your responsibility to comply with the Penna. Code in association with Printed, airtime, electronic or any other form of media or advertising for your business and marketing.  It is our office policy that you assume the responsibility to have your cards, advertising and marketing approved by me or the R.E. Commission.  If you do not, and you are cited for non-compliance you will be indemnifying and reimbursing KW Realty Midway for any fees and costs for your violations.  This would result in a withholding of collecting any such fees from your compensation or commission. 

The PA Code REQUIRES you to List our office Brokerage name and phone number along with your name as the agent on any  form of advertisement.  It must be of equal or larger size than your agent name and number. 

Citations by the commission, if charged, start at $250-500.00 for a 1st time offense, and increase by any further citations to $750.00 then $1,000.00 up to $10,000 maximum.Fines are commensurate  with the citations. 

Any citations charged to you are logged as”disciplinary history” on your license.  What that means is that the Department of the State has to report this to ancillary companies such as Errors and omissions and agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  This could not only cause your office fees to increase, but your ability to practice real estate could be limited, thus effecting your potential income.

As a fellow real estate agent who cares about your success and understands how challenging it can be to compete in our industry, I also want to protect you against any damages or unnecessary costs that could be avoided.

I welcome you to contact me with any further questions and to reach out to me should you need assistance prior to making any marketing or advertising decisions.

Very Sincerely,

Laurie Keen

Broker of Record

KW Realty Midway


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