RE/MAX 440
Peter Cerruti
440 South West End Blvd, RT 309
Quakertown  PA 18951
 Phone: 215-429-7273
Office Phone: 215-538-4400
Fax: 267-354-6992 
petecerruti@yahoo.com
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Peter Cerruti

My Blog

How Valuable Is a New Front Door?

May 17, 2016 12:37 am

Some home improvement projects are bankable for the seller—some, unfortunately, are a bust.

A new front door, according to ContractorQuotes.us, is one of the projects that can yield a high return on investment. A steel door, specifically, costs an average of $1,230 to install, but may increase the home’s value by $1,252—a 101.8 percent return.

A fiberglass door, too, may boost a home’s value, by over $2,000 ($2,107, to be exact), while costing an average of $2,926—a 72 percent recoup for the seller.

If you’re planning to replace your front door, keep in mind that some doors require maintenance. Be sure to clarify these requirements before purchasing, ContractorQuotes.us advises.

Remember, also, that the least expensive product is not necessarily worth the savings. The front door is likely the first feature buyers will notice when visiting the home.

It may be tempting to select a style you like personally, but, ContractorQuotes.us suggests choosing a style that is reflective of the exterior of the home. Will it complement the style of the rest of the house?

High-tech security features are also worth considering. A recent report by CEPro.com includes front door technology among its top trends for the home, with the doors themselves holding much promise for integrated home technology.

We'll circle back on this trendy front door tech in a future report.

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Cleaning: How Often Is Enough?

May 17, 2016 12:37 am

Spring cleaning, for many, is as habitual—and as universally a pain!—as facing those annual income tax returns. We do it, grudgingly, and are rewarded by the clean, uncluttered space we come home to.

What about cleaning the rest of the year? How often is enough?

Turns out, our homes harbor more bacteria than many a public trash can, the Miami Herald reports.

Just how often do we need to clean—and what?

Refrigerators have much more bacteria in them than most realize. Experts say salad drawers alone contain 750 times what’s considered a “safe” level of bacteria. Make cleaning it a priority!

The microwave may kill bacteria, but heating days-old leftovers can be risky if the walls aren’t splash-free. Once each week, mix half a cup of vinegar with half a cup of water in a heat-safe dish. Microwave on high until the window steams up, then wipe down the interior with a clean cloth or sponge.

Toilets get the bad rap, but a recent study found more infection-causing bacteria in bathtubs. Clean it—along with the toilet—once every week.

Researchers have also found that washing your towel after only three uses removes millions of dead skin cells. Stick to this guideline to ensure cleanliness.

Your bed linens, on the other hand, don’t get as dirty as you think. If you shower in the morning or sleep in the buff, however, make it a point to wash them every one to two weeks.

Mattress and pillow protectors do shield the bed and pillows from dust and grime, but they should still be washed (or even replaced) periodically—every three months is the general rule of thumb.

Don’t neglect your home’s air quality, either. Research shows it can be up to 10 times worse than that of the air outdoors. Have carpets professionally steam-cleaned at least once year, or more often if you own a pet.

Overall, remember: just because you don’t see dirt doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Consistent upkeep throughout the year will keep your home tidy and bacteria at bay.

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5 Bucket List Destinations That Won't Break the Bank

May 14, 2016 12:34 am

Bucket list destinations around the world have become much more affordable, thanks to low airfares and a strong dollar. Jet off to one of these exotic, now-inexpensive locales, recently named to Cheapflights.com’s “International Destinations That Won’t Break the Bank."

1. Goa, India
Known for its signature fish curry, Goa boasts plenty for explorer types, with scores of beaches, churches, forts and temples in architecturally diverse styles.

2. Kandy, Sri Lanka
The country’s ancient capital, Kandy’s accommodations are relatively inexpensive, and in proximity to sightseer hot spots, including museums, monasteries, temples and Kandy Lake.

3. Lima, Peru
Bargains abound in Peru, and Lima is no exception. From hiking Machu Picchu and sunning at the beach to dining at world-renowned restaurants, there’s something for everyone in Peru’s capital.

4. Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei is ideal for travelers seeking experiences similar to Beijing or Hong Kong—without the premium price tag. While there, take time to ascend Taipei 101, one of the world’s tallest structures—it’s worth it!

5. Wellington, New Zealand
Get the most bang for your buck in Wellington, thanks to current exchange rates. The city features a variety of lodging options, including budget hotels, campgrounds, hostels and motels, and a number of free attractions.

Ready to go? For more destinations from this list, visit Cheapflights.com.

Source: Cheapflights.com

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"Moving? I'd Rather Do Taxes!"

May 14, 2016 12:34 am

That’s the sentiment from approximately one in five respondents to a recent poll, who’d take filing their taxes by hand over moving. Some would even prefer to give up their favorite food for a month!

Still, the trouble of moving isn’t deterring us from doing it—in fact, according to the poll, over one-third of respondents have moved more than once in the last decade. What makes moving less challenging, the poll found, are professional services:

• Approximately two in five respondents have driven a moving truck in the past, and based on that experience, more than half of them would hire someone else to do the driving in the future.

• Thirty-two percent of respondents have hired a mover to pack and/or load their possessions, and 11 percent of (lucky!) respondents report their employer hired a moving company.

What’s more, many respondents would be willing to compromise if it meant a less taxing move: 53 percent would hire a driver, but pack their items themselves, regardless of cost.

Overall, the results of the poll demonstrate moving doesn’t have to be a hassle—especially if you seek help from a professional.

Source: Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.

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Redoing the Bathroom? 4 In-the-Now Trends

May 14, 2016 12:34 am

(Family Features)—Bathrooms may take up the least square footage in the home, but they have the most potential when remodeling—and for these rooms, function and design matter.

To achieve both in your next remodel, consider incorporating these in-the-now trends:

Floating Vanity – Tap into the minimalist movement with a floating vanity, which not only plays up the modern vibe, but also makes cramped bathrooms feel spacious.

Painted Cabinetry – Bold is the new black. For statement-making cabinets, go all out with colorful wood, or temper the trend with a glazed, rich stain—either will give your bathroom a “now” feel.

Simplified Storage – From pull-outs, tilt-ups and roll-outs to hidden outlets, simplified storage is in. Install base pullouts or toe-kick drawers, or a U-shaped sliding shelf that wraps around the sink’s plumbing, to stow your bathroom essentials out of sight.

Sleek Doors – Traditional cabinet doors add bulk. New, streamlined doors, with hidden hinges (called “full overlay”), half-hidden frames (“traditional overlay”) or inset, complement today’s popular contemporary-transitional design.

Whichever trend resonates, consult with a professional bathroom remodeler before undertaking the project—bathrooms are high selling points come resale, and you don’t want to take any chances.

Source: Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.

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Money Management 101: 3 Age-Appropriate Stepping Stones

May 13, 2016 12:34 am

When it comes to money management, the best lessons are taught early.

“Although it can be awkward at times, talking to your kids about money at a young age is extremely important,” explains Steve Trumble, president and CEO of the non-profit American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC). “The most vital lessons for children to learn [are] the value of the dollar and the importance of budgeting and saving. By learning these concepts early on, there is a better chance they will have successful financial lives.

Parents interested in teaching their children about personal finance can follow these stepping stones, recently outlined by ACCC:

For Children in Kindergarten – Grade 2 – Communicate the most basic principle: money must be earned. Set up a savings account for the child(ren), and allow them to deposit earnings they’ve accumulated from completing household chores.

For Children in Grade 3 – Grade 6 – Help the child(ren) develop responsible spending habits. Try this exercise: have them make a list of five things they need and five things they want, ranking both lists in order of importance. Show them the estimated cost for each need and want, emphasizing the savings needed to purchase them.

For Children in Grade 7 – Grade 12 – Introduce credit carefully—make it clear that it is not “free” money. To demonstrate, allow the child(ren) to borrow money from you, complete with a limit, repayment terms, and a standard interest rate.

Source: ACCC

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BBQ Month: 5 Fun Facts

May 13, 2016 12:34 am

For many homeowners, May marks the beginning of grilling season—and this year, the barbecue’s hotter than ever! Get fired up for a summer of backyard eats with these fun facts, recently released by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA).

Seventy-five percent of adults own a grill or smoker. Sixty-two percent of those with a grill own a gas grill. Ten percent of grill owners have a backyard kitchen.

• The most popular days to barbecue are Fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, but 63 percent of grill owners do it all year round!

Seventy-one percent of grill owners use their grills to improve flavor; 54 percent do it for personal enjoyment; 42 percent do it while entertaining family and friends.

• The most popular new accessories grill owners plan to purchase are broiling baskets, cooking planks and pizza stones. Fifty percent of grill owners have basic grilling accessories, like mitts and tongs.

• Barbecuing isn’t strictly for dinnertime meals—11 percent of grill owners have even cooked breakfast on a grill!

Source: HPBA

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Remodeling on a Budget? 5 Tips

May 13, 2016 12:34 am

Remodeling a home is a major undertaking, one few homeowners take lightly because of the time and expense it involves. While the end result can add value to the property, homeowners are rightly concerned with getting the job done as cost-effectively as possible.

Consumer Reports offers five tips to help keep costs down and spirits up:

1. Choose a Licensed and Bonded Contractor – Not only are you more likely to get the professionalism you expect, but licensed and bonded contractors are also more likely to hold down costs and share any cost overruns that may occur.

2. Haggle – Don’t be shy about asking for a break in price. Some contractors will offer a discount for seniors or the disabled if asked, or will be amenable to competitive bargaining in order to win your business.

3. Stick to the Plan – Ask questions, listen to ideas and be sure of what you want in your remodel before you sign a contract. Every change you make once the work is in progress will likely result in added charges.

4. Prepare for Unknown Damage – Unknown structural damage discovered once the remodel has begun, such as faulty wiring or mold, can result in delays and added cost. Be prepared to allocate additional funds as needed.

5. Don’t Over-Improve – Don’t over-improve for the neighborhood. Understand that one-of-a-kind features, like having the only swimming pool on your block or the only home with commercial kitchen appliances or upscale decorative touches, does not necessarily mean you will recover your investment if and when you decide to sell.

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Top Chef: 10 Kitchen Tips for Beginners

May 12, 2016 12:34 am

No doubt chefs with years of training have learned a few tricks along the way. The food editors at Family Circle Magazine recently interviewed a panel of these culinary experts, coming out with 10 all-star tips for novice chefs:

1.  Bump Up the Veggies – Making pasta? Toss a few veggies into the boiling water during the last five minutes of cooking.

2. Clean Cutting Boards with Ease – Get the odors out by liberally sprinkling the board with salt, then scrubbing it with half of a lemon.

3. Cook Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs – Add a bit of oil to the water while boiling, and the shells will slip right off when you peel them.

4. Cut It Right for Stir-Frying – Put meat into the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing into thin, even strips.

5. Improvise Buttermilk – Need buttermilk for just one recipe? Put a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a measuring cup, then add a cup of milk and stir.

6. Measure Ingredients Before You Cook – Chefs call it, “Mise en Place.” Save time by chopping and measuring all of your ingredients and spices beforehand.

7. Melt Chocolate in the Microwave – No need for a double boiler. Place squares or chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 30 to 45 seconds. The chocolate will continue melting on its own, so stir it after a few seconds to see if more microwave time is needed.

8. Mince Garlic in Two Steps – Cut thin, vertical slices almost to the stem end, then slice crosswise two or three times to mince.

9. Rescue Dishes with the Right Additives – A heavy hand with any seasoning can ruin a dish. If it’s too spicy, add sugar or butter. If it’s too sweet, add lemon juice. If it just doesn’t taste up to par, try adding a bit of salt.

10. Water Will Not Put Out an Oil Fire – If the pan flares, smother the flame with salt or baking soda, or simply turn off the heat and clamp a lid on the pan.

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Healthy Home, Happy Home: Choose EPA "Safer Choice" Products

May 12, 2016 12:34 am

A number of household cleaning products are laced with chemicals not only harmful to our health, but also to the environment. How can you identify the safest products?

Look for the “Safer Choice” label, which denotes products that have been federally evaluated and approved for safety. The moniker, recently launched by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is part of a program backed by over 500 partner companies, and is available for more than 2,000 qualifying products.

The program covers a range of household products, including all-purpose cleaners, carpet and fabric shampoos, deck and siding washes, kitchen and bath cleansers, laundry detergents, and more.

EPA scientists have stringently assessed the products with the Safer Choice label, determining that they contain ingredients healthier to humans and less damaging to the environment.

“[The] EPA has developed its new Safer Choice label so that it will be easier for shoppers to choose cleaning and home care products that are safer for families, pets, communities and the environment,” says EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Our Safer Choice program empowers consumers to protect their health and minimize the impact on the environment through everyday purchasing decisions.”

Source: EPA

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